House Ratifies US$21.3m Loan Agreement to Improve Roads, Civil Servants Pay

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In an effort to improve the condition of roads in the country and the wellbeing of civil servants amidst the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, the House of Representatives has unanimously endorsed a US$21.3 million Loan Agreement forwarded by, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

According to the Loan Agreement, signed between the Liberian Government and the International Development Association (IDA), US$19.2m dubbed “Second Additional Financing for Urban and Rural Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project, ”will be used to improve the condition of access roads from Monrovia to Ganta as well as other rural roads;

The remaining US$2.1 million is to improve pay management of civil servants, which includes upgrading the caliber of the Liberia’s civil service, and the classification of civil servants, under the financing agreement, “Public Sector Management Project.”

The projects would be implemented for and on behalf of the Government of Liberia by the Ministry of Public Works and the Civil Service Agency and assisted by the Ministry of Finance.

The agreement says the CSA will also conduct a remuneration survey and undertake comparative training of civil servants in relevant human resources functions.

The call for the passage of the Loan Agreements was prompted by Joint Committees on Ways, Means and Finance and the Judiciary for the realization of what they called “infrastructural improvements of roads and the modernization of the civil servants,” and was subsequently and overwhelming supported by members of the House on the 14th day sitting of the Extraordinary Session, on Thursday, October 17.

The agreement called for the Loan to be paid biannually in United States Dollars for 30 years commencing July 15, 2024, to and including January 15, 2034; and commencing July 15, 2034, to and including January 15, 2054.

The House believes that the amount for the road construction is adequate to finance the cost of successful execution of the project, and the payment plan is reasonable.  But the House failed to state whether the loan for the Public Sector Modernization Project is adequate.

However, after the unanimous passage of the Loan Agreement­, Chief Clerk Mildren Siryon, was mandated to  submit the documents to the Liberian Senate for concurrence.

Meanwhile, some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are arguing that the “Public Sector Management Project” would be used to downsize non-essential staffers as being orchestrated by the Liberian Government through the Civil Service Agency (CSA).

CSOs are therefore asking the Liberian Senate to analyze and research the possibility that the primary usage of the fund could be thwarted to accomplish any plan by the government to retrench non-essential civil servants.

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