The World Food Programme Head of Support Services in Liberia, Aaron Sleh, said no matter the controversies that surround the Coronavirus stimulus food package, WFP will leave no stone unturned in the food distribution exercise.
“We understand there are serious controversies about our role in the food distribution exercise, but today I want to commit WFP’s fullest support to leaving no stone unturned in this exercise; We will make sure designated communities receive their share of this distribution”, Aaron said.
Addressing reporters recently at the Ministry of Health in Oldest Congo Town, outside Monrovia, he said the WFP was contacted by the Liberian government to implement the distribution based on its world class expertise, and long-standing experience in relief food, including here in Liberia.
He recalled that WFP started its operation since 1968, saying our role in this exercise is to deliver cost effective, transparent, and accountable program within the parameter that has been provided by the Government of Liberia.
“We have an agreement with the Government of Liberia to implement this program, according to WFP rules, including our procurement rules, and that all operations regarding the execution of the program were made by WFP, and had been in compliance with WFP”, Aaron assured Liberians.
The UN agency says it independently manages resources from the Liberian Government’s COVID-19 Household Food Support Program (COHFSP) budget, not the government itself.
Recently, WFP issued a statement, detailing that total budget for the COHFSP is US$30 million, comprising cost of the food basket (rice, beans and vegetable oil) as well as costs of storing, transporting and delivering the assistance to vulnerable households targeted through this program.
The WFP’s statement comes at a time the chairman of the COVID-19 food distribution steering committee, Commerce Minister Prof. Wilson Tarpeh denied telling the Liberian Senate that WFP charged the Government of Liberia US$9 million in “administrative and operational cost” to distribute food to vulnerable Liberians across the country.
Prior to the clarification, there have been public condemnations of the alleged US$9 million “administrative and operational costs”, with some Senators terming as wasteful, the alleged proposal by the Executive Branch allotting such amount for food distribution cost. Editing by Jonathan Browne