The Government of the United States of America (USA) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has donated US$5M to the Government of Liberia to pay health workers across the country.
Speaking at the signing of the US$5M grant on Friday, September 19, Acting Mission Director of USAID-Liberia, Barbara Dickerson, said the amount is intended to pay Liberia’s healthcare workers for the next five months.
She pointed out that the amount is a portion of a US$75M support from the United States to Liberia in the fight against the Ebola virus.
“Today, I am very proud to announce that the Government of the United States of America will donate through the United States Agency for International Development, five million dollars to assist the Government of Liberia and the Ministry of Health to pay health workers during the next five month period,” said Madam Dickerson.
“This funding will include basic salary for approximately 3,500 civil service health workers whose salaries are paid through direct bank deposit,” she added.
The acting USAID boss said the fund is the result of a recent discussion held between senior officials of the Government of Liberia and the United States. According to her, this wouldn’t have happened without the outstanding efforts of the Liberian government in ensuring payroll refund and transparency in the public sector.
“I would like to underscore the US government’s continuing commitment to support the fight and addressing the Ebola epidemic,” she noted. For his part, Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara Mohammed Konneh, lauded the US government for the support.
He said it has been a difficult year in Liberia, especially the last six months. “We are observing that all sectors of the Liberian economy are declining; the Liberian economy is to decline by 50%,” he announced.
“I am not afraid to make this news because that is the fact. If you are going to grow 6%, and you are projected to grow 3%, then you have a problem. Being a fragile economy, it means revenue is going to decline, and your abilities to meet your budget obligation are going to be hampered, and this is where you know your true friends, and this where the USAID comes in,” he said.
The minister pointed out that the grant will be used to pay health care workers, who have direct deposit for the sake of transparency. He added that the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale, is working with the Civil Service Agency to ensure that those who are not under direct deposit with the Ministry of Finance be placed under such policy immediately.