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CSOs demand accountability for IMF 24.7M

Some civil society organizations (CSOs) have called on the Government of Liberia to exercise transparency and accountability by telling the nation what it has done with a reported 24.7M special drawing rights (SDR).

The CSOs made the call over the weekend in Monrovia when they met at a one-day advocacy meeting organized by the Public Health Initiative Liberia (PHIL) in association with the African Health Budget Network.

They claimed that the 24.7M SDR was given by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

They particularly cited the Ministries of Finance and Development Planning, and Health, as well as the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) as government institutions that must give account for the alleged money.

The CSOs called for collaborative advocacy from other stakeholders to make sure that the alleged money is not misappropriated. They alleged that the money is at risk of going down the drain without a trace.

The gathering of the CSOs came on heels of the mystery surrounding the fund which was packaged for Liberia as part of the USD 600bn earmarked by the Bretton Woods institution.

the package was for Bretton Woods’ global intervention for countries to address their peculiar challenges in the wake of the advent of the COVID – 19 pandemic.

For Liberia, the money was meant for boosting the reserve of the Central Bank of Liberia, fighting economic growth and fighting against Covid – 19 through the provision of vaccines.

Giving the objective of the meeting, Ms. Joyce L. Kilikpo, Executive Director of PHIL and Convener of the event, said as part of the global community, Liberia benefited from the SDR $600 bn largess.
Ms. Kilikpo stated that on 23 August 2021, Liberia got the allocation of 24.7 M in SDR in the context of the grant to IMF member countries.

She further said that by April 2022, PHIL playing its role as a civil society organization in the health sector was credibly informed that the government had received USD 80M out of the fund earmarked.

She alleged that the funds were received and signed for on behalf of the government by the Minister of Finance, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., and J. Aloysius Tarlue, Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia.

Upon receipt of the information, she said her institution embarked upon engaging stakeholders connected to the fund and the IMF reaffirmed that the money was released to the Liberian government.

“We have observed that there has been limited or no stakeholder’s engagement on the proper and transparent use of the SDR and consequent accountability have been left solely to the discretion of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning,” she alleged.

She said there has been no involvement and dialogue with other key players within civil society, the business community, the media and the Legislature.

“This, therefore, puts the SDR at risk of mismanagement or having them used for other purposes that may not be in the interest of the state,” she said.

A proxy of Senator Abraham Darius Dillon said his boss has a keen interest in flagging it up in the plenary session of the Senate.

But he called on the organizers to do a formal communication detailing all the information needed to make a good presentation before the Senate.

 Messrs Narvin Ireland, Head of Policy Analysis, Fiscal Transparency and Budget at Integrity Watch and Anderson Miamen, Executive Director of Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), called for more education and further consultations from a wider spectrum of the civil society organizations.

They called for consensus building to engage the relevant institutions with the view of achieving tangible results.

Cllr. Jamal Deltho, Vice President of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), said the Bar is aware that Liberia has entered agreements with international groups to receive funding for the Covid – 19 and the money thus far received is in the custody of CBL.

CENTAL, Integrity Watch, the Liberian Student Union (LINSU), the University of Liberia – based Student Unification Party (SUP), and students from the United Methodist University, among others, were represented at the gathering. –Press release

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