2 March 2018

Liberia: Weah's Short-Term Deliverables

Photo: Liberia Government
President George Weah at Liberia Armed Forces Day.

President George Manneh Weah outlines here short-term deliverables dubbed "Critical Pro-Poor Projects" to be executed in three to four months, the Executive Mansion says.

In a project summary posted online Thursday, 1 March, the government names education and training as Pillar One, under which the government plans to pay junior and senior high school examination fees for students in both public and private schools.

"Every child, no matter the family's status, should have access to quality education," the document says, while adding that this project will absorb the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) fees for Academic 2017/2018.

It notes that 9th graders' fees are already paid for by government, and the estimated cost is based on an anticipated twelve percent increase from 2017 to 2018 to approximately 35,000 12th graders from both public and private schools.

The government plans to provide digital registration system for the University of Liberia and free Wi-Fi internet for students at the main campus, having realized hurdles experienced by students at the public university during registration, which often results from the current manual registration procedures.

The Weah Administration anticipates that the project will relax the hurdles that have continuously frustrated students at the University of Liberia, which it observes has normally led to confusion and mass demonstrations.

"This digital registration system, supported by a Wi-Fi internet environment on the main campus will significantly minimize the complications and turnaround time for registration and also improve research capacity," the government adds.

The government vows to fulfill its obligation by paying salaries of 400 new teachers and correcting the salaries of 180 underpaid personnel, while also strategically placing well-trained teachers throughout the various counties.

It notes that currently, there are over 6,000 vacant teaching positions across the country, adding that this project takes a step towards closing the educational gap by making targeted improvements to staffing of the Education sector in this fiscal year.

Firstly, it promises to follow through with commitment to complete 400 Personnel Action Notices (PANs) for Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) teachers, and that salaries for 180 currently underpaid staff due to historic reasons will be paid.

The project is expected to increase the number of Liberians with specialized technical skills, allowing them to fill important gaps for technicians in Liberia.

"Key technical positions, such as computer programmer and technicians, for government systems such as ASYCUDA will be identified and trained. Within the health sector, new generation of Liberians will be trained as pathologists, anesthesiologists, toxicologists, and other medical specialists and technologists," the government says.

Meanwhile, the government vows to provide beds, tools, and other medical equipment and facility upgrades for the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia, which it notes requires significant refurbishment.

The document says in the short-term, beds, tools, and equipment are necessary for services to continue as required, while supporting ongoing humanitarian outreach programs by First Lady Clar Weah by working with the Physically Challenged and Senior Citizens, with commitment to deliver quick impact projects that reach marginalized members of society across Liberia.

Pillar Two of the deliverables focuses on the economy, jobs and infrastructure development in which the new administration says it will repair and maintain traffic lights in Monrovia and construct 400 new street lights along the Roberts Field Highway in Margibi County.

This project, the document adds, will also maintain the Ganta-Zwedru road to prevent deterioration during the rainy season, and also prioritize the maintenance of roads during the rainy season so that resources are made available through that corridor.

The administration pledges to fulfill its obligation and contribution to the Sanniquellie-Loguatuo Road in line with a 2016 commitment to counterpart funding, and the Fish Town-Kilipo Road, respectively.

It says part of this project involves payment for the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) which has already been completed by the Environmental Team in the Ministry of Public Works, noting that this is a much necessary step to continue road construction.

Mr. Weah's government emphasizes the need to repair and maintain damaged National Transit Authority (NTA) buses to improve transportation systems in the country.

Under this project, government says it will promote Liberian-Owned and Operated Businesses through a government-backed credit line to stimulate private sector development.

"Historically, loan defaulting has become a major impediment to the provision of loans to Liberian owned businesses," it cautions.

It is however considering introducing non-discriminatory loan and grant facilities to empower and support Liberian-owned businesses, disclosing that this project establishes a government-backed credit line program of at least US$1,000,000 to extend loans to new and existing businesses.

"These efforts will support entrepreneurs within the private sector as a means of reducing poverty, increasing employment, and increasing Liberians' participation in the economy," it says further.

The government adds that it will jointly own and manage this loan scheme along with a lending partner to mitigate the risk of default, while achieving the goal of strengthening the private sector through rigorous due diligence and monitoring measures.

Under Pillar Three, government says it will conduct feasibility study for a military hospital, the first ever, disclosing that the project will hire a specialist firm to deliver options for the design and construction of the military hospital announced by the Commander-In-Chief for the Armed Forces of Liberia, as a presidential initiative.

Finally, government says it will finance efforts to issue biometric identification to government employees and rationalize the wage bill through payroll verification.

It says the Liberian National Identification Registry, having been established, plays a vital role in verifying the existence of civil servants in government using a combination of identification cards and biometric systems.

"The government expects to make savings over US$20,000,000 from rationalizing the wage bill and payroll verification," the document concludes. Press Release


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