In an effort to mitigate the effects of the global pandemic, at least 85,000 Petty Traders, including Market women, are expected to benefit from a COVID Cash Transfer Program in Liberia.
Launched by the Government of Liberia on December 19, 2020, in collaboration with USAID, the COVID cash transfer of US$150 will be disbursed to the most vulnerable in the Liberian society in three installments in an effort to cushion the effects of the global pandemic.
Finance Minister Samuel Tweah told participants during a virtual conference meant to launch the program that, in the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), the government looks at social protection as a valuable investment, particularly in vulnerable rural settings. Minister Tweah said in the last few years, resources that have been dedicated to social protection programs have been on the low side, which he said the Weah administration wants to scale up.
Minister Tweah, who earlier on announced that the government intends to carry out the social safety net scheme as an investment, however, said “it is not as a one-off” intervention. “So targeting 85,000 people under the USAID program meets that objective”, he said.
U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Alyson Grunder, in remarks at the launch, said cash transfers are increasingly viewed as a “powerful poverty reduction tool”. She said such schemes, in combination with other “evidence-based” development programs, can be a game-changer as they do not just impact the most vulnerable but can have a multiplier effect by reducing community burdens and supporting small scale enterprise and agriculture.
Madam Grunder expressed the belief that the program can be successful only if there is a rigorous identification of expected beneficiaries, which she announced has been carried out with USAID supervision. Cash Transfer schemes are internationally standard poverty reduction methods which attempt to improve the conditions of the economically disadvantaged.
The latest program in Liberia was first hatched during the height of the COVID crisis when the government, under President George M Weah, sought to ward off the negative effects of COVID-19 on Liberian households.