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‘Ebola’ Draining Economy – Min. Konneh

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The Acting Minister of Finance and Development Planning or MFDP, Amara M. Konneh has disclosed that the Liberian economy is seriously hit by the financial crisis, warning governmental institutions to reduce their way of running the institution. Minister Konneh has also urged government institutions to cut down some of their expenditure because of budgetary constraints.

He told a regular Information Ministry Press briefing Thursday in Monrovia that the current Ebola outbreak in the country has significantly impacted economic activities across the country, with a decline in domestic food production, mining and the service sectors.

The Minister noted that Liberia and its people were going through a very difficult moment, saying every effort to recover from past trials, consolidate the dividends of peace and build a strong and revised economy were all in jeopardy due to the deadly Ebola virus.

According to him, some concession companies have already scaled down operations, as expatriates depart the country for fear of contracting the Ebola virus. He said productivity in the various sectors of the economy was adversely affected, resulting in lower revenue performance, and increased expenditure demands, threatening the post- conflict recovery process of sustainable, inclusive and proper growth.

Konneh emphasized the need for all government agencies to accept the cuts in their respective budgets and spending plans to ensure the mobilization of the required resources to battle the dangerous virus.

“Though it is difficult, we can all agree that the result will be worth; because we as a government must ensure that the highest priority in government spending remains the fight against the Ebola virus which has claimed the lives of the ordinary people, and is posing the greatest threat to the survival of the people, he added,”.

He indicated that as part of the government’s effort to fight the Ebola disease, key activities within the health and security sectors were prioritized through the national budget, with the disbursement of US$6.2m for the period of July and August- targeting the Ministry of Health, John F. Kennedy Hospital, Jackson Doe Hospital, Phebe Hospital and other county health centers.

Minister Konneh also announced that the total estimate financial requirements to address the national emergency response was initially quoted at US$20m, but rose to US$34.8m. He said when all implementing agencies submitted their three-month budget, support to all health-related interventions in this plan amounted to US$29m, constituting 84% of the entire budget.

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