… to aid COVID-19 Fight
The European Union (EU) transferred a non-reimbursable grant amounting to EUR 6.25 million (nearly US$6.9 million) to the Government of Liberia (GoL) in the second half of May. The grant, which entered the revenue account of the government on May 29, 2020, is expected to be used for the support the national budget.
According to a release from the European Delegation to Liberia, the assistance to Liberia through national budget support comprises money for development projects across the country, such as example for agriculture, education, roads and electricity.
Under general and specific conditions for awarding the grant, the EU asks the Liberian government to take certain positive steps before it gives any budget support. These steps are called the general and specific conditions. The EU checks carefully that the conditions have been met and then sends the money to the bank account of the government.
Generally, the GoL is expected to make a national plan to develop the country and carry it out as planned; take wise measures to improve the overall economy; develop a strategy to better manage the government’s finances and then act on it; and inform citizens about the budget.
More specifically, the GoL’s work for the EU budget support on specific conditions in these areas of focus from 2018 to 2020
- Raise money locally from forestry: The Liberia Revenue Authority collected a bit more than 74% of outstanding forestry area fees. This means that more than USD 11 million of old forestry taxes have been added to the national budget.
- Make doing business across the borders easier: major efforts undertaken to improve World Bank Doing Business sub-indicator on border compliance times for import
- Use the national budget to deliver quality services as planned: 97% report on the achievements in fiscal year 2018/2019 and 99% of all spending entities informed about their objectives for the fiscal year 2019/2020 budget. This means that Liberians can read about how the government spent and intends to spend public money and hold ministries and agencies responsible.
- Deliver services for example birth certificates, marriage certificates, deed registration, vehicle registration in counties for citizens to benefit: major efforts undertaken towards a standardised collection of data.
- Control and prevent corruption when buying goods and contracting services: major efforts undertaken to publish procurement plans on the internet to inform interested companies.
- Check that public officials have correctly declared their assets (this is the amount of money they have, properties they own and so on): The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission published a report on the verification of asset declarations on their website. This means that Liberians can read about what the LACC has found and the authorities can further examine if there is a case of ill-gotten wealth.
The latest grant disbursement was the third under the EU’s budget support programme, called “Moving Liberia forward – Improving service delivery and public investment”. Disbursement of this payment comes after a fast-track approval by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development.
Ambassador Hélène Cavé, Head of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, said: “Our central services in Brussels approved the disbursement of EUR 6.25 million in record speed in the light of urgent needs caused by the COVID pandemic. This is indeed very good news for Liberians. We hope that this budget support will help the Government deal with the health and economic challenges and reduce the hardship of Liberians during the current state of emergency. Last year,” she continued, “the government took two courageous and necessary steps reforming the Government’s wage system and signing up to a program with the International Monetary Fund. I am very happy that the Liberia Anti-Corruption Agency checked that public officials correctly declared their assets and that the Liberia Revenue Authority raised outstanding money from forestry.” She added “I would like express my heartfelt thanks the Liberian Government for the close cooperation with the European Union which allowed for the rapid processing.”