In the face of high demand and rush for sanitary materials and bleach products to fight the deadly Ebola virus, the Government of Liberia (GOL) through the tax policy unit of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) says it is reviewing a proposal for the relaxation of tariffs and duties on the importation of sanitary materials and other bleach products in the country.
According to the MFDP, the revision will be done in conjunction with the Liberia Revenue Authority. The demand for sanitizers has risen as some drug stores and health centers tend to hold back the products. The price of sanitizers has also begun to rise as most homes, workplaces and commuters struggle to get at least a hand sanitizer and a pair of hand glove.
Most offices, health centers and homes have begun enforcing a direct policy requiring people to wash their hands in a sanitized bucket of water before entering and leaving their premises. The MFDP announced the decision yesterday following the death in Nigeria of one of its employee Mr. Patrick Sawyer. The Ministry also announced a measure suspending operations on Monday and urged the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to disinfect all offices hosting the MFDP on Broad Street and Capitol Hill.
The MFDP authorities have also placed all staff particularly senior officials, including Finance Minister Amara M. Konneh, coming in direct or indirect contact with Mr. Sawyer on a prescribed 21 days observatory surveillance period starting July 20th, the day Mr. Sawyer departed the country for Nigeria.
The MFDP noted that only persons with genuine business dealings and transactions would be permitted on the premises of the Ministry. “All employees, who made no contact but have been traumatized as a result of the situation in the last few days and would like to take some time off, are free to stay home until when it is necessary to return to duty,” the statement said.
The MFDP has also restricted the use of its elevator to only 4 persons per trip; prohibited clustering on the stairways and restricted the gathering of people not more than five persons except for meetings in conference spaces or spatial environment. Absolutely no handshakes, hugging of other physical bodily contact is allowed at the MFDP.
The Ministry has meanwhile encouraged all employees to wear long sleeve clothing to minimize any possible risk of exposure and has put in place a thorough sanitary program and admonishes all staff to use the hand washer or personalized sanitizers or disposable gloves available at the Ministry’s entrance.
The late Patrick Sawyer was the Coordinator of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) National Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.