Sanitation Crisis Worsens in Monrovia’s Suburbs

first_imgWith an unending solution in sight in practically addressing the sanitation challenges of Monrovia, several rural settlements’ sanitation problems continue to worsen.In most of Monrovia’s suburbs in recent times, stink garbage continues to swallow the drainages and other designated dumpsites.Visibly at the Duala General Market on the Bushrod Island, volumes of stink garbage was observed spreading beyond the dumpsites established by the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC).On top of that garbage bins posted at the various authorized dumpsites by the Municipal Governments of Monrovia and Paynesville are piles of new dirt.Many Liberians and private business owners have attributed the sanitation challenges of Monrovia and Paynesville cities to poor planning, coordination, execution, implementation and collection.Some urban planners who spoke to the Daily Observer Monday pointed out that, majority of the drainages in Monrovia and its environs have outlived their usefulness.The urban planners also intimated that the extensive depreciation of the decades- old drainages in several parts  of Monrovia continue to contribute to the perennial flooding.Correspondingly, until urban planners and municipal governments of Monrovia can come to the realization that the sanitation challenges of Monrovia must be tackled at all fronts, things will get worse.Primarily, support partners and central government must begin to design new and practical strategies about the unending sanitation crisis in  Monrovia and its environs.Principally, support partners, stakeholders, municipal governments, business entities and residents must be active partakers in the overall cleaning of Monrovia and its immediate environs.Understandably, too much funds have been invested into the Urban Waste management Projects (UWMP) by major donors such as the World Bank and environmental institutions that have had no significant impact on the Liberian environmental and sanitation crisis.Besides, some concerned environmental groups are also blaming public institutions established by statutes to shoulder the responsibility for the sanitation challenges and stressful Liberian environment.The environmental groups have stressed the urgent need for those institutions to be made to shoulder their statutory responsibilities and collaborate with support partners to practically address the huge sanitation challenges of Monrovia and its environs.Sadly, the onslaught by the deadly Ebola virus in the country has compounded the grave sanitation challenges in  Monrovia and its environs.During an hour-long tour of poor sanitation-prone communities, it was observed that authorized dumpsites were established by sanitation companies that continue to get fabulous contracts from the World Bank for the Urban Waste Management Projects.Businesspeople and pharmacy operators at the Duala General Market expressed grave concern about the unsanitary conditions of the business center.With the Dry Season is at the door steps of Monrovia residents and business entities, the offensive and unpleasant odors from the volumes of stink garbage are some of expected to worsen.“We are discouraged to the extent that we are operating at a serious loss as customers’ attendance for the past few months has diminished,”  businessman Thomas Kollie Ballah lamented.Besides, Mr. Kollie explained that due to the poor planning and execution of dirt collection and disposal by sanitation companies and partners, sanitation challenges remain serious environmental problems in Monrovia.Businessman Kollie pointed out that owing to the huge Ebola virus spread, worsened by fear, small businesses are encountering serious socio-economic constraints and plenty of challenges in obtaining the kind of goods and services.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

With All Our Might, Liberians, Guineans and Sierra Leoneans Must Fight WHO and CDC…

first_imgEven as reports from throughout Liberia, including some of the epi-centers of the deadly Ebola virus, say it  is rapidly receding, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for  Disease Control are still making alarming and apocalyptic ‘predictions’ that Ebola will continue to spread by massive proportions well into January 2015.The question that readily comes to mind is, What are these two global organizations up to?  After taking a full six months to respond to this deadly emergency in three West African countries where people were dropping dead in their thousands, WHO is still insisting that Ebola deaths could exceed 20,000.Pessimistically worse yet, the Atlanta-based United States government’s CDC says that between 500,000 and 1.4 million people may be infected by January.  And now the British medical journal, The Lancet Infectious Diseases have just come out with another dreadful prediction, that “unless accelerated efforts to control the disease are made, the virus, by mid-December, will infect 171,000 and kill 90,000 people in Liberia alone.Are these grim predictions real? Are they a ploy to attract more world response against the epidemic, or are they designed for something else?When last week President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visited Foya in Lofa County, where Ebola first broke out in Liberia from across the border in Guinea, there had been in the past three weeks NO new cases reported in Lofa.  In addition, the Ebola Treatment Center in Foya was practically empty.   In Ganta, Nimba County, which lost over a hundred people, reports are saying that there are no new cases there either, and that the death toll has diminished.Even in Monrovia, reports coming in to this newspaper say the cases are going down, and that most ETUs have limited occupancy.  Our Senior Reporter Omari Jackson visited several communities around Monrovia, many of them badly affected slums, and reported that the people were in a thanksgiving mood because the number of infections and deaths were way down.Reporter Jackson said people were very upset that WHO and others were saying the reason the numbers in ETUs were down was that ‘infected’ people were staying away for fear of Ebola stigma and cremation.   He said he found no one in the several communities visited who held that view.  Many were upset with the WHO and CDC for giving these alarming predictions.  The people interviewed by Reporter Jackson said that just as they were beginning to feel a welcome sense of relief, given the visible decline in the viral infections and deaths, these WHO and CDC predictions were causing them great discomfort and anxiety.Reporter Jackson discovered another highly positive development: people are religiously following all measures of prevention, including washing their hands, not touching one another or dead bodies and insisting that anyone suspected of any kind of infection is immediately sent away from the neighborhood and led to a center where that person can be tested. In other words, the people are no longer hiding their sick, but doing what they know they must do to fight the virus.  So we expect corresponding encouragement from all the partners, including the international bodies.With the virus receding, it will be interesting to see what will happen in the 17 ETUs nearing completion by the American military contingent and by the Chinese and other partners.  Reporter Jackson visited the latest one at the new Defense Ministry premises and found that there were so far no patients there.It is an historical fact that Liberia has never before faced a health crisis like this one.  The WHO and CDC predictions, even as our people are responding robustly to the established preventive measures, have presented us with another very serious challenge:  just as President Ellen Johnson said a week ago, we must REJECT these predictions by fighting with all our might to resist this virus and expel it from ourcountry and the Mano River basin.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Political situation causing unease in our society

first_imgDear Editor,The Muslim Youth Organization, in the context of the no-confidence motion and subsequent decision of the CCJ, calls on the Government to adhere to the Constitution of our country and proceed to national and regional elections.The current political situation is causing unease in our society. Our country needs to settle, and the only way this can occur is if the current political situation is brought to an end with the holding of elections.We also urge GECOM to move towards preparation for those elections which are constitutionally due. All efforts must be employed in the preparation for free and fair elections in the shortest possible time.We also urge all Guyanese to conduct themselves responsibly during the election period, and to accept the results of a free and fair election.Yours sincerely,Imran AllyPresident (ag)last_img read more

Piracy attacks Fishermen should be given guns, Suriname protection – Ramjattan

first_imgPublic Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan is suggesting putting firearms into the hands of fishers going out to sea as one measure to reduce high-seas piracy.His comments were made Saturday at the Number 66 Fishermen’s Co-op Complex where he met with fisher folk to discuss piracy and other issues affecting the industry.The visit to Corentyne comes on the heels of an attack on 15 fishers by five pirates between 27 and 28 May last. The attack left one fisher; Hemchand Sookdeo, 45, of Number 55 Village, dead and three others missing: Dochan Sukra, 54, also called ’Butcher’ of Number 55 Village, Dhanpaul Ramphal of Number 67 Village, and Munish Churman, 26, also called ‘Boyo’ of Number 60 Village.During the attack, the captain of the boat the missing men were in, Seepersaud Persaud, 43, of Corriverton, was thrown overboard five miles offshore but was rescued by other fishers after swimming for some three hours.Minister Ramjattan, addressing the more than one hundred persons in the industry, said firearms might help to solve the problem: “I did make the statement when I first became a Minister and we had the bad round of piracy last year, that I want people, if it is possible for them whenever they go out to catch their fish, they can go out with a firearm, allowed by the nearest police station.”He said the firearm will be uplifted before the fishers leave for sea and returned as soon as they return to shore.However that suggestion was again met with opposition. One fisher noted that his son went out with a licensed firearm and it was taken away by the Surinamese.Most of the waters Corentyne fishers use to fish are considered Suriname territory.According to Ramjattan, negotiations are currently taking place between the two countries to iron out some of the issues surrounding fishing in waters belonging to Suriname and in close proximity to Guyana.Most of the fishers have obtained licences from Suriname to fish in the foreign waters allowing them to ply their trade hassle free.When this was told to the minister, he urged the fishers to seek protection from Suriname police: “You are using Suriname licence to fish in Suriname waters then you need to go to the Suriname police and ask them to protect you.”Ramjattan noted that his government had suggested communication sets be used by fishers while out at sea, but the suggestion when put to the fishing community, was shot down. “When I made the suggestion, a lot of people went to members of the opposition saying that we want to take away most of your monies. They want us to give free radios but we can’t do that, we don’t have the money to do that.”Ramjattan said too many lives and property are being lost due to piracy. “What is the value of a life as against putting up a $300,000 radio system?” He asked.According to him, government will be looking to make it compulsory that persons going to sea to fish are equipped with a radio system.Minister Ramjattan said there is need for more stringent registration processes in the fishing industry.He also suggested that there must be proper documentation of persons who are going out to sea and in which boat they are going.“We feel that one of the solutions lies with better communities; communities that live and also communities that are going to ensure that they give the information to the law enforcers so that we will be able to have this thing solved. And that we can know up front who might be the ones that will turn out to be bad boys…We have to start doing all of these things rather than sometimes pass the blame on to somebody else, like the police or government” Ramjattan outlined.Ten days after fishers came under attack by five pirates on the Corentyne River, three remain missing. However with very little chance of finding the men alive, the focus of the search is expected to concentrate on the recovery of bodies as from today.Commander of Berbice Police, Assistant Commissioner Ian Amsterdam made that disclosure on Saturday when he along with Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan met with fisher folk at the Co-op Complex.Amsterdam said that with assistance from Suriname and the Guyana Defence Force using their ‘metal sharks’ (sophisticated military boats) they have carried out extensive searches for the men who are feared drowned.He noted that the services of divers may be employed as he vowed to find the men even if they are under the muddy Corentyne River water.Meanwhile, Sookdeo was laid to rest yesterday at the Number 51 Cemetery.last_img read more

New Vice Chancellor outlines revival plans for UG

first_imgWith a fairly new Vice chancellor at the helm of the University of Guyana, the country’s premier tertiary institution is set to see significant changes in operation and service.New UG Vice Chancellor, Dr Ivelaw Griffith during his inaugural press conference vowed to transform the aesthetic of the University, moving it from the place it is now to a place that would benefit every student and staff member.He met with journalists on Friday, a mere three days after assuming office. During his first week in office, the Professor has already engaged a wide range of staff and students, attended the academic and faculty board meetings, met with senior administration and held interactions with the two workers unions.According to the Professor, the University of Guyana will be moving head on tackling the issues that have been holding the institution down for far too long.New University Vice ChancellorDr Ivelaw Griffith“We have got to do better as a University, as a nation, in paying our staff decent salaries. True, earlier this year there was an increase and while that increase was necessary, it’s not sufficient”.He said he has already met with President David Granger and will be meeting shortly with Finance Minister Winston Jordan and Attorney General Basil Williams, to set the stage to enable the University to get the resources from Government to do more, including paying decent wages and salaries to academic and non academic staff.Better wages and salaries for all staff have always been a major issue and was among the major reasons for the latest bouts of protest actions by the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association and the University of Guyana Workers’ Union.Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor said the University will be moving to set the stage to do innovative things that could elevate the premier tertiary body.“One of the things that will be setting the stage is asking the question, what new things must this university do?” One of those things, he said, is the need to establish a business school at the University. At the dawn of the new semester, the University will be engaging the expertise of a feasibility study team, for them to assess the possibility of establishing such a school.Griffith has placed as high premium on engaging a wide network of professionals all over the world to galvanise support for enhancing the programmes and operations of the University. In this regard, the first conference of education resource ambassadors will be convened in Georgetown, between June 23 and 25.“This conference will bring together about 100 professionals, both local and from the Diaspora, particularly from North America and the Caribbean, who have expressed an interest and commitment to contributing financially, technically to taking UG forward”.With the theme “Dreaming resources, doing resources”, the conference aims specifically at achieving several objectives, including mobilising resources from key domestic and Diaspora stakeholders to enhance infrastructure, finance capital andhuman development challenges; identifying immediate, short and long-term contributions aimed at achieving o mobilising resources to address some of the extant challenges, facilitate a new culture for the collective ownership if the welfare of the university by the widest possible cross section of stakeholders who are willing to contribute to the restoration of the institution’s academic credibility and financial ethnicity.During the three-day conference, participants will make visits to the University’s campuses (Turkeyen and Tain) to ascertain the immediate needs of the respective campuses, as well as to brainstorm in plenary and working groups on an agenda for immediate, short and long-term action.last_img read more

Police arrest prime suspect in Tucville mechanic’s murder

first_imgDead: Orrette WestAlmost four months after 29-year-old Orrette West was stabbed to death at Plaisance, East Coast Demerara, over an old grievance, Police ranks arrested the main suspect on Thursday.West, a mechanic of Tucville Terrace, East La Penitence, was stabbed once to his chest and once to his abdomen on the morning of June 4, while hanging out at the Plaisance Railway Embankment.His attacker, who hails from Guyhoc Park, Greater Georgetown, had fled the scene immediately after injuring the mechanic and had been in hiding since.However, Guyana Times was informed by sources that on Thursday morning the Police received information about his whereabouts and went to Albouystown, Georgetown, where they arrested the suspect.The Police source further indicated the suspect was interrogated about the incident and subsequently confessed to killing the 29-year-old mechanic. He is expected to be charged and brought before the courts as early as today.Eyewitnesses had told this publication that West was dancing with a woman when the suspect walked towards him, hugged him and inflicted the wounds.West collapsed and was picked up and rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.Relatives of the dead man had revealed that the post-mortem confirmed that he died as a result of a single stab wound to his chest.Guyana Times was told that the stabbing might have stemmed from a December 2015 incident involving the two men.However, on the day of the stabbing, the dead man’s mother told this newspaper, her son did not have any issue with anyone, and refuted the claims that he was involved in a fight with the suspect.last_img read more

Lofa Senator Raises Alarm

first_imgA letter addressed to the Senate Pro Tempore, Gbehzohngar Findley, and his colleagues has raised alarm over US$1.75 million that has allegedly gone unaccounted for from the 2011/2012 national budget.Written by Senator George T. Tengbeh, Junior Senator of Lofa County, the communication asked for a full investigation into what he termed the “misappropriation” of US$1,750,320.The amount was said to have been set aside for car washing under a “Fleet Management Policy”; but according to Senator Tengbeh, thanks to an investigation, “no carwash in the Republic of Liberia has received said amount.”Senator Tengbeh’s letter read: “During the recess period, lots of issues were identified which claimed our attention. One of these issues is the alleged “misappropriation” of US$1,750,320 of the 2011/2012 budget that was said to have been given for car washing under the Fleet Management Policy. Our investigation revealed that no car wash in this country received such an amount.”He concluded: “In view of the above, distinguished colleagues, we request a full investigation into the matter to determine the whereabouts of this amount.”In reaction, Senator Isaac Nyenabo of Grand Gedeh intervened to point out that the organ that deals with misappropriations in the Chamber is the Public Accounts Committee:“…in [the] case of misapplication of items, the Ways, Means and Finance Committee comes [in]to play for inquiry and investigation. This communication talks about misappropriation; and the constitutional committee [concerned] is the Public Accounts Committee,” Nyenabo explained.The Grand Gedeh County Senior Senator then suggested that plenary dispatch the letter to the right committee.But in their reaction, some members of that august body observed that the name given the communication was incorrect; that instead of “misappropriation”, which would require reference to the Public Accounts Committee, the Senator should have used the word “misapplied.”The Senate, at only its second day sitting, refused to act on the communication from  Senator Tengbeh until it was rewritten and re-phrased.Amid the controversy, the presiding officer of Thursday’s plenary, President of the Senate and Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai, decided to end the debate. Describing Tengbeh’s communication as a serious matter, Boakai called for contact with the author of the letter.Following a few minutes of dialogue with VP Boakai, Senator Tengbeh agreed with his colleagues that the word “misappropriation” should be replaced with “misapplied.”Given the final decision, presiding officer Boakai ordered the communication withdrawn and rewritten to address the actual intent. That decision was unanimously agreed to.The verbage of the communication has now been downgraded to “misapplication” with the consent of the author.(Editor’s Note: This story has been edited from its original version to include the necessary corrections. We thank our readers for their observations.)Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Is Ebola a Curse From God or A Natural Disaster? (Part Five): Lessons to…

first_imgIn this fifth and concluding article of the series centered on the question of whether Ebola is a curse or a natural or man-made virus a particular attention is paid to the possible lessons we all as individuals, families, communities, religious institutions and nations can learn from the Ebola epidemic. What lessons can we learn from the Ebola disaster to make us better persons and a better nation? In what ways is the Ebola outbreak and the serious challenge it is posing to our existence an opportunity to change our attitudes and whole way of life for the better? Let us explore a bit below. The fourth article on human responsibility in dealing with the Ebola menace observed the following main points:Some believers wrongly think that human responsibility and divine support are incompatible. No, they are mistaken. The premise of this fourth article is that divine help and human efforts go hand in hand. We should not choose between the two. We make judicious use of both. We can always pray hard and equally work hard.The biggest challenge and gap in this fight against Ebola is to break the chain of transmission. We seem to be losing the fight as the rate of infection is increasing rapidly. To break the chain in transmission requires the involvement of everyone—especially individuals and communities. The outsiders can help with the building of more Ebola treatment centers, movement of equipment and medicines, lots of experts and preventive materials but the behavior change that is required has to be taught and effected by communities.Martin Luther King, Jr. once noted that to depend on our works and our works alone without any reference to God is atheism. Conversely, to sit and do nothing and expect God to do everything for us is not faith but presumption. Christianity is both trust in God and hard work. St. Augustine of Hippo put it like this: “Without God we cannot. Without us God will not”. In other words apart from God we can nothing. But though God can do without us, yet he has chosen to work with and through us mortals. What lessons then can we learn from the Ebola crisis to make us better?Joshua David Stone and Gloria Excelsias aver that every crisis is an opportunity: “Any crisis is an opportunity to change direction in your life”. They reveal that the word crisis is of Greek origin and it means “a turning point in a disease.” Their conclusion is: “So a crisis is truly an opportunity for a turning point in our lives”. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks of turning our liabilities into assets. He uses the perennial example of Helen Keller who lived in the late 1880’s and early 1900’s. Made blind and deaf by a debilitating disease at the age of nine, she rose above the challenges in those days of being blind and deaf to acquiring a university degree and becoming an author, a lecturer, and an activist for the disabled. She could have mourned and blamed other people for her condition. No, rather she worked extra hard and excelled above many normal persons! Some experts in how to turn problems into opportunities speak about “turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones” in going higher rather than lower.The question for those who are now experiencing the havoc of this deadly disease is “Will Ebola leave us the same unpatriotic, self-centered, polarized, and envious people or will it leave us a better united people”?I suggest a few cardinal lessons. Ebola is forcing us as nations to revisit our health systems and pay more attention to them by putting more money in them and managing them better for our own survival and means of growth and development. Ebola is teaching us about how to better care for our bodies and environments. Many of us were taught early on in life to wash our hands as often as possible and to keep our surroundings clean as a means of preventing a lot of diseases but we have been careless about putting these basic lessons into practice. Ebola is calling us back to those basics.Above all, Ebola is challenging us to dare to do things differently to what we are used to. If we who are naturally a touching (countless handshakes) and hugging people can learn to restrain from a natural habit then we can certainly change our old bad attitudes and try more challenging ways of thinking and doing things differently with the potential of making us better. Let Ebola help us change our attitudes and ways for the better.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Liberian while Traveling, I really wanted to shout, ‘I am a Liberian, not a…

first_imgI hadn’t thought about the racial underbelly of Ebola airport surveillance until I experienced it for myself this week.It all started at Heathrow Airport, where a “trainee” airline official asked me three times what I was doing in the UK even though I mentioned five times that I was a student, pointing emphatically to my very valid visa in a passport emblazoned with “Republic of Liberia” on the cover in gold letters.His boss, a no-nonsense looking woman with dark hair and soft brown eyes, wanted proof of residence in the UK, something I had never been asked to show before. When I looked at her, visibly annoyed, she tried a different line of questioning.“Do you have other proof that you are studying here?”When I whipped out my school ID, she seemed momentarily appeased but not quite satisfied.“Why are you travelling to the US?” she continued.“I’m attending a conference,” I said pre-emptively handing her my US residency card.“Are you coming back to the UK?” she wondered.“Yes, I have to finish my programme,” I said. Her soft eyes hardened as she wordlessly waved me through to the baggage drop off line.“I saw them giving you a hard time back there,” said a black British man I ran into moments later.“I have a Liberian passport,” I said. He nodded in empathy, with the knowing look of someone who had experienced similar provocation.The spectre of Ebola followed me to the east coast of the United States. Disembarking from the jumbo jet in a mad dash to catch a connecting flight, I walked purposefully to the line marked “permanent residents”. A burly officer holding what appeared to be a list of passengers approached me. Here we go again, I thought.“May I see your passport?” he said in a tone that was more command that request. Taking the document, he flipped through the filled up pages for what appeared like hours, then asked, “When was the last time you were in Liberia?”“July,” I said. He paused. I could sense he was counting in his head the months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds, to ensure that I was not infectious or diseased.“You were born in 198X?” I responded in the affirmative, hyper aware that he knew the answer before asking. “I may have to ask you more questions later,” he said gruffly.“No problem,” I said in bemusement. As he motioned for me to move to the immigration officer on duty, I wondered if he and others like him had undergone mandatory technical and sensitivity training for Ebola surveillance. It seemed obvious to me that they needed it.“When was the last time you were in Africa?” began the next line of questioning.I responded with a cheeky retort, “Well, I was in LIBERIA in July.” The immigration official seemed completely unphased that I was mocking his description of Africa as a monolith swallowed whole by Ebola.“How are you feeling?” he said in an attempt to gauge my state of health. “I feel great, like a million bucks!” I said. I really wanted to shout, “I am a Liberian, not a virus!” the slogan coined by a Liberian woman, Dr. Katurah Cooper, which recently went viral on social media. The man verified my fingerprints, stamped my passport heartily, and handed me the document, a fake smile plastered on his chiselled face.My gait picked up as I tried to make it to the customs line unmolested. Too late. Another officer stood in the way, motioning for my passport. We went through what became a familiar tango and then it was over. I looked back briefly to see if he had stopped anyone else. He hadn’t.From London to Philadelphia, I went through five lines of questioning in which my passport was perused, poked, and prodded. Like my travel document, I felt exposed and laid bare, wondering where Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the NAACP were when you needed them.I was not travelling directly from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone – the three countries in Ebola’s tight grip. Nor was there anything suspicious or out of the ordinary about my travel documents. If I was not immune to this brand of inspection, I could only imagine the negative reception others of my ilk might face.There’s a phrase that was popular in the 1990s, “driving while black”, which African-Americans coined in the US to expose the insidiousness of racial profiling. The 21st century version of that phrase should be “traveling while Liberian…or Guinean, or Sierra Leonean” in the age of Ebola.I come from a stock of dignified and resilient people, but there’s only so much we can take. Attempts to quell international hysteria about Ebola with increased airport surveillance should not obscure the threat this poses to the rights and dignity of the “surveyed”.Ebola airport screenings must not be a smokescreen for harassment, intimidation, and racial profiling.Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author based at SOAS, University of London.The article was originally published on this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

US$600M Budget Leaves Capitol Hill

first_imgDespite the presence of the Ebola virus and government’s lack of capacity to combat the spread of the disease, Capitol Hill has passed a budget of US$660,236,000 million.A draft National budget was submitted to the Legislature by the Executive in April of this year for deliberations, before opening it to full plenary. Liberia was hit by the second outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease. Since then, the budget had been debated and discussed behind closed-doors until yesterday when it surfaced on the floor of the House of Representatives.The Committee on Ways, Means and Finance and Public Accounts presented the bill before plenary.“Having thoroughly scrutinized the Draft National Budget for FY 2014/15 and derived a National Budget envelope of US$660,236,000, the Joint Committee requests the passage of the FY14/15 National Budget into law,” the Committee said.Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood’s motion to pass the draft law was overwhelmingly endorsed and immediately transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.The Senate then acted with speed and passed the Act in an Executive Session and has since communicated that to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for signature and expected to be printed into handbill by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.In the 2014/15 Budget, government is set to collect US$25 million for signature bonus from the sale of oil blocks 6, 7, 16 & 17 while Contingent Borrowing is set at US$10 million.According to the Joint Committee, the Executive submitted an initial budget envelope of US$473,252,000 but additional US$7,047,000 revenue was realized during budget hearings. It was realized that government is to collect US$74, 300,000 from Grant (contingent) and Grant (core) respectively.  Borrowing (core) is US$70,637,000 in the new budget.The fate of civil servants still hangs in the balance as up to press time, as there was no news about the over 40,000 public workers in the new budget.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more