Finance, Health Twist on Benefit Payments?

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The Ministries of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and Health (MOH) have clarified that the Government of Liberia and its partners have now honoured all payment obligations to Ebola response workers.

However, both ministries’ spokespersons said during a press conference yesterday that “outstanding payments” are currently being processed for April and May 2015 for both Ebola response workers, who have legitimate claims that have not yet been paid, and some routine health workers at both private and public health facilities.

They said that all payments to Ebola response workers have been managed by Finance Ministry’s Project Financial Management Unit (PFMU), in coordination with the MOH and banking institutions.

This clarification comes in the wake of a violent demonstration carried out Monday, September 28, by some individuals, who claimed that they were hired and worked at various Ebola treatment units (ETUs) but have not been paid by the Liberian Government. The demonstrators have repeatedly claimed that the government owes them risk benefits for the number of months they worked at the ETUs.

Some officials of the Health Ministry, particularly, allege that the individuals involved in the protests have issued threats against them saying they will burn down their homes and even kill some of them if their demands are not met.

The government officials said that in order to meet the payment requirements of all of the responders, including ETUs, routine health workers and response teams, and death benefits for families of deceased health workers, the Liberian Government received from the Ebola Emergency Response Project (EERP) of the World Bank US$20.1 million and from the African Development Bank (AfDB) US$4.5 million.

According to them, as it stands, US$20.2 million have been paid to at least 13,779 responders and the final total number of persons paid will be reported upon completion of all outstanding payments. They also said that out of 120 death benefit requests made to the PFMU, 117 have been paid and three are still unpaid.

The MOH, in collaboration with the MFDP, is however calling on those having problems on any outstanding payments to submit their claims to the Health Ministry’s security desk by Friday, October 2, 2015.

They said the individuals should include in their claims their full name, team worked with (ETU, Response, Routine), location, account details and contact number, and that they will be responded to within a week after the close of the deadline.

The Health and Finance Ministries also stated that all individuals outside of Montserrado County should contact the human resource officers in each county with the same details.

Meanwhile, all death benefits’ beneficiaries have been asked to complete their documentations and submit same to the Personnel Unit at the Ministry of Health before October 19, 2015.


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