The Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), has commenced the process for the selection and appointment of an independent “Fiduciary Agent” to assist the government with the financial management of the Ebola Trust Fund (ETF).
According to the MFDP, the decision to contract an independent financial management firm was intended to uphold government’s commitment to full transparency and accountability as announced recently by Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr. Amara M. Konneh.
According to the Minister Konneh, if selected, the firm will provide the fiduciary service to manage the fund and supervise accounting related services, under the direction of the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, under the multi-donor governance structure.
“It would be required to set up a sound financial management system to accurately record and report on all funds received and disbursed from the Trust Fund and providing regular fund management report,” the MFDP said in a statement.
According to the Ministry, the firm would also provide oversight of all procurement functions to ensure compliance with established guidelines of the government as well as those of development partners.
Among other things the MFDP expects from the entity trying to get the task, the firm would work to design specific procurement procedures and rules tailored to meet the standard guidelines of Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC).
The firm would amongst others, provide technical support to the Incident Management System and oversee the procurement of goods, works, non-consulting services and (services) to be funded from the ETF.
The government of Liberia in response to the Ebola virus epidemic established the Ebola Trust Fund (ETF) at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) in a bid to attract resources from the government, private citizens and international donors.
The Fund was created with an initial US$5 million injection through a loan facility from the Central Bank of Liberia. To date, the fund has raised over 10 million dollars, with more donations expected from foreign partners and friendly governments in the coming weeks.
Recently the Liberian government announced it needed over US$ 375 million to effectively fund its National Ebola Response and Restoration of Basic Health Services strategy. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola virus has killed over 3,000 people in West Africa and infected over 5,000.
Liberia is widely believed to be the worst hit country of the three most affected countries in the sub-region.
The government is still grappling with the most effective way of containing the virus despite the presence of over 3,000 US marines, strong African Union (AU) presence on the ground and other medical organizations, including Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF).
The government recently announced “huge” hazard pay for public healthcare workers over the next six months in a bid to encourage fleeing healthcare workers to return to work and help save more lives.
Many public hospitals are still practically deserted due to fear of contracting the virus by healthcare workers.
Meanwhile, the US military has announced that it has constructed mobile Ebola testing labs at the Island Clinic on Bushrod Island, Montserrado County and the Gbarnga Ebola treatment unit (ETU) in Bong County, respectively.