The Steering Committee of the Government’s Household Food Support Program has announced that it will begin the distribution of the much awaited emergency food packages to Liberians on May 23, 2020.
President George Weah weeks ago presented a stimulus package before the Liberian Legislature to provide emergency relief to citizens here during the country’s State of Emergency. An amount of US25 million was earmarked to cover the entire stimulus package, which includes emergency food distribution, electricity and water supply, hazard pay for medical workers etc.
However, since the rectification of the resolution by the National Legislature, which did not only approved the President’s State of Emergency (SOE) but also extended the SOE by 60 days with a controversial USD6, 500 payoff to members of the Senate-some senators described it as payment of overdue operational funds, while others say it was their sitting fees for coming back from break to sign the SOE.
Meanwhile, the Steering Committee which comprises government officials, opposition members and the World Food Program says the household food support program will target vulnerable groups and slum communities.
According to the Steering Committee Chairman, Commerce Minister Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, the distribution will be modelled after the former Special Emergency Life Food (SELF) food distribution program but will be headed by the World Food Program assisted by the community leaders in targeted slum areas.
“We will begin with the initial four affected counties-Montserrado, Margibi, Nimba and Bong Counties,” Minister Tarpeh was quoted to have said in a statement over the weekend.
He said the remaining 11 counties will be included in the food distribution program at a latter state.
He further stated that in order to keep the wheels of the economy turning during this period of emergency, the Committee has decided to include local farm produce such as palm oil, red beans etc, as part of the food package. He opined that the move is to empower local farmers.
“This is intended to empower our local farmers economically as we battle the pandemic,” said Tarpeh.