United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative Dr. Pa LaminBeyaihas challenged one of the leading civil society organizations here, Accountability Lab Liberia to live up to its standards to ensure that every cent devoted to coronavirus fight and response efforts is used judiciously.
Speaking Friday, 19 June during Accountability Lab Liberia’s launch of Coronavirus Crisis Response Project up Carey Street, Dr. Beyai said the UNDP – Accountability Lab Liberia partnership brings to Liberia’s Covid-19 response an important element that assesses how resources, be it financial …, are utilized.
Dr. Beyai emphasizes that this additional step is necessary because any inefficient use of Covid – 19 resources will not only undermine Liberia’s performance, but will also deprive the healthcare delivery system here from having valuable lifesaving medical equipment and facilities.
In that connection, he says, the critical role of all actors leading the fight against Covid – 19 should be to exhibit the highest standard of transparency and accountability to enforce public trust and strengthen the social contract.
He urges that the responsibility should not only be left on the government, development partners and CSOs such as Accountability Lab, but also the media and the public. Dr. Beyai concludes that this partnership with Accountability Lab will be reviewed at the end of phase one, and may be an opportunity for other to be engaged in that endeavor.
Mr. Lawrence Yealue, Country Director, Accountability Lab Liberia, says the project runs for six months, explaining that the launch signals the official start of a coronavirus response project for the country in partnership with UNDP.
According to Mr. Yealue, the work comes of the back of ongoing efforts by Accountability Lab Liberia to debunk rumors and ensure greater accountability within the country’s response to Covid – 19 through weekly bulletins.
He explains that the launch is also an opportunity to raise awareness and explain the goals and objectives of Liberia’s Coronavirus Crisis Response project which are to create a system of accountability and transparency around Covid- 19 donations and the effective and efficient use of the funds and materials provided by donors and government.
Further, he says it is to demonstrate responsible governance to the public and various partners and donors that will increase public trust, especially in light of the tainted reputation of the Ebola funds being mismanaged and alleged fraud. Among other things, he says the project is asking the government to implement key things such as setting up an independent oversight body to review all spending periodically on coronavirus operations.
Additionally, he says the project wants government to develop and widely circulate a logical whistleblowing mechanism for safe reporting on the coronavirus fund expense; and to ensure transparent contracting and procurement processes adhering to international and Liberia’s Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) standards on all spending related to Covid – 19 response.
During the launch, National Response Coordinator for the Executive Committee on Coronavirus (ECOC) and General Services Agency Director General Madam Mary Broh says her office is opened to interact with Accountability Lab, the media and the civil society for an idea on what is being done.
She notes that for the public to trust the committee it’s for them to give the national response the opportunity to go into their communities to tell the people what the work is about, adding that they are not here to harm anybody but to help. Madam Broh urges the public to continue to observe the health protocols as the crisis is not yet over.
Mr. Nyema J. Richards, Director of Programs and Learning, Accountability Lab Liberia, says his organization is happy about the opportunity that it has been provided by its partner UNDP for trusting to fund the idea that will help engage with and continue to work with citizens, responsible leaders and accountable institutions here towards making government works for everyone. Mr. Richards sees the project as an opportunity for government to show leadership, accountability and transparency within this crisis period and every other donation that has been received to help combat this crisis.
By Winston W. Parley