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Tough measures for tough time

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Liberia’s largely impoverished 4million population has been placed under a State of Emergency and lockdown, as part of government’s measures to mitigating the spread of the Coronavirus that has killed five persons with 50 confirmed cases.

But as some public health specialists have criticized, lockdown may not be an effective approach for disadvantaged and poor countries where daily survival is a serious challenge even in the best of times.
Such is the reality for Monrovia’s improvised residents who lack money to store up food during the national quarantine. Since the start of the lackdown here Saturday, April 11, state security, including the military has been engaged in running battles with desperately hungry residents searching for food to buy at various markets.

Even commercial banks in Monrovia are overwhelmed with in flock of people going to withdraw money for the upkeep of the family during the 14 days lockdown.

Amid the cat and mice engagement, the government is yet to present an economic package or plan to help the population that is already on its kneels due to a badly managed economy that has left the authorities here struggling to even pay salaries and local venders.

With four counties (Montserrado County, Margibi County, Nimba County, and Grand Kru County) under a “STAY AT HOME” for the next 14 days, the question of food, electricity and water should be addressed with urgency.

Despite citizens’ outcry, the government is mute on these concerns that could mainly affect children and the elderly in various homes besides the COVID-19. Not even people with disabilities are being mentioned in the current crisis; their health and survivability are being left to fate.

Regional neighbors such as Ghana and Guinea are a far departure when it comes to coronavirus strategies, especially citizens’ welfare. While these two countries are providing free electricity, water, freeze on rental and transportation for their people amid lockdown, Liberians are left alone to fend for themselves in a challenged economy.

Most governments in Africa seem to be more focus on doing something to get partners’ attention than really acting in the best interest of their people. In Liberia, the government of President George Manneh Weah managed in paying one month salary for Civil Servants.

But besides cash, the authorities could offer tax break for business houses selling basic commodities such as food, drugs, gasoline, including public transport to ease stress on citizens. This is not happening, as the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has placed an advertisement on President Weah’s Coronavirus song dubbed “Weah’s Project”, calling on COVID-19 panicked residents to pay their taxes, including real estate.

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