The Government says it spent US35 million during the first half of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014 on healthcare delivery alone. A statement from the Ministry of Finance Development Planning or MFDP quoting its Minister Amara A. Konneh says the amount which covered the entire country was spent in the face of deadly Ebola pandemic that has shattered the country’s economy which is just recovering from collapse.
The MFDP statement said, out of the total amount, US$9 million was spent on Ebola Response and US$6 million for the restoration of basic health care services across the country.
The Ministry says for this first half of the fiscal year, the Liberian Government generated approximately US$298 million in revenue.
Of this total amount, it says US$209 million was generated from domestic sources (tax and non-tax revenues) while US$89 million came from external sources (Grants & Borrowing) as a result extensive negotiations with multilateral and bilateral partners.
“In order to ensure that the operations of Government continued unimpeded, including regular salary payments to active civil servants and non-essential staffs who were requested to stay home due to the crisis, US$106 million was expended on salaries and compensation related items,” the ministry explains.
This, according to the MFDP statement, was a decision of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the Government that in order to minimize the livelihood impact of the Ebola crisis, non-essential staff and all civil servants continue to receive their income to purchase basic food and other supplies.
The MFDP further reported that in addition to expenses on healthcare, other critical sectors still received support: Security (US$35 million); education (US$28 million); energy (US$6 million); infrastructure (US$27.7 million), senatorial elections (US$9.5 million) among others.
“Providently as part of measures to accelerate economic recovery, the MFDP has provided special support for Agricultural investment (US$2 million) and Private Sector development (US$1 million). These programs have already been established and fully funded,” it added.
The Ministry of Finance & Development Planning said it is assuring citizens and development partners that every measure is being taken to maintain macroeconomic stability, as well as effective management of the economy during this difficult period in our country.
“Under this cumbersome stack, Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Amara M. Konneh shrieks that efforts to recover from past trials, consolidate the dividends of peace and build a strong and diverse economy are in jeopardy in the wake of the attack of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, the ministry said.
The statment also noted that as the country prepares for life in a post-Ebola era, the Government has directed its focus on the re-opening of schools across the country. Toward this end, the MFDP has already established a US$1 million fund to assist the sector in getting ready for operations.
“As we begin the second half of the fiscal year and also enter the New Year, the MFDP is looking forward to working with key institutions like the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Through this partnership, it is hoped that revenue generation and fund raising efforts in ensuring that the required resources are available to fund the rebuilding of key social services infrastructures and GOL’s overall development agenda will be intensified.
Critical areas of interest for President Johnson-Sirleaf and the Government are rebuilding the health system, reopening of schools, rehabilitation of the hydro and the bringing additional electricity on line, continuing the construction of more roads across the country, rehabilitation of the airport and investing in agriculture and the domestic private sector,” the MFDP continues.
It further noted that the Liberian government’s private sector investment goal is to ensure that more Liberians have access to finance and participate in the nation’s economic recovery program.
It stresses that all is being done to ensure microeconomic stability, the provision of basic social services, and key infrastructure development projects including power, ports and roads remain on track.
Finally, it said the Ministry therefore counts on all Liberians and partners for their support and cooperation in meeting these targets during this very challenging period in the country’s history.