Monrovia — The Government of Liberia has debunked speculations on social media that it intends to use nearly US$10 million of the US$30 million apportioned for the COVID-19 food distribution on “unexplained administrative costs”.
Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon (Liberty Party) posted to Facebook on Saturday “Out of the $30mil for “Free Food”, nearly US$10mil (1/3 or 33%) to be used for unexplained administrative costs”. Something is fishy”.
However, Senator Dillon’s post emanated from the Minister of Commerce Prof. Wilson Tarpeh’s appearance before the Senate on Friday. He told the Senators that of the USD$30 million, USD$20 million will go to food cost while USD$9 million will go toward the operational cost. “This is the plan and distribution will begin this weekend. WFP has informed this committee that because of the road condition they will use sea transport to get to the southeast,” he said.
Commenting on the social media post from the Senator, Information Minister Eugene Nagbe told FrontPagAfrica that the fund would be in the total control of the World Food Program which would spearhead the food distribution.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has instructed the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to move US$25 million from the government’s account to the WFP to begin the implementation of the distribution.
The instruction from the Finance Ministry to the Central Bank, a copy of which FrontPageAfrica has obtained was prepared on June 11. It is expected that the transfer of the amount would be made on June 15.
Minister Eugene Nagbe said the government remains focused on rallying and receiving international support to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on the citizens.
He described the information posted by Senator Dillon as a “naked desperation” and “ludicrous allegations”.
“The fact of the matter is that the government has transferred USD25 Million from the GOL Consolidated accounts at the Central Bank of Liberia to the World Food Program to implement the food support program.
“So, all this is a diabolical lie coming from Senator Dillon and other opposition leaders whose nasty politicking knows no bounds even in the wake of a national calamity like the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Minister Nagbe also disclosed that the government has requested the World Bank and the WFP to refute the claims of the opposition, which he said is baseless.
Senator Dillon has held the opinion that using US$25 million distribution of free food to citizens across the country to compensate for the lockdown imposed by the government as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 would be more impactful if it were redirected towards paying the tuition for all grade school students across the country.
He opined on Facebook: “This singular decision would be more impactful and felt by nearly every home across the country.
“THIS KIND of intervention would also be needed and very helpful especially to all poor parents and self-supporting students, and same would give our people some time and space to prepare to take their own financial burdens for the 2nd semester and going forward.”