Amid efforts in a drive to help prevent the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) from entering Liberia, President George Manneh Weah has with immediate effect constituted a special Presidential Advisory Committee, which he also chairs, for the prevention of the Coronavirus in Liberia.
The decision which was taken after the end of an emergency cabinet meeting held on Monday March 9, 2020, at his Foreign Ministry Office now see him (Weah) as chair of such strategic committee.
The Liberian leader, according to Deputy Presidential Press Secretary Smith Toby, stressed that it is time for a collective fight in protecting the virus which has now reached a crisis point across the globe.
“The Committee team members to include: The Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia is expected to provide among other things necessary strategies and awareness on the massive prevention of the virus across Liberia,” Mr. Toby said.
“Moreover, and as a global health situation and concern respectively, the Who Health Organization, The World Bank and the United Nations International Children Education Fund are also key international partners to the new committee set up by the Liberian Leader.”
According to Mr. Toby, due to the speed in which the virus is taking away lives, the international partners are also taking proactive steps in providing support to Countries to help prevent the virus.
The Deputy Press Secretary Smith Toby disclosed that the World Bank has made initial contribution to Liberia in the tune of US$1.5 million and is working on modalities to increase said amount to US$5 million and subsequently step it up to US$20 million in total in assisting Liberia to prevent the virus.
According to Mr. Toby, the government, which is the direct beneficiary, is expected to invest about US$40 million in effectively preventing the crisis, something he noted is a challenge but the Government is working to address, for the benefit of its citizenry.
Though the virus is not in Liberia, President Weah has encouraged all residents within the territorial borders of the country to abide by all health preventive measures for a healthier and safe society. He called on Liberians to work as a team and put in place the similar united spirit that saw the exit of the Ebola virus disease from the Land and the sub-region in general.
As donors and health practitioners are said to be working on ways and means in preventing the Coronavirus from entering the Country, the public has been challenged to abide by all health safety measures and not to panic in the wake of the global health situation.
Presidential County Tour Commences
Meanwhile, the Executive Mansion has officially disclosed that the unchanged date for the commencement of the long awaited Presidential County tour, is scheduled for the 21 of March 2020.
The country tour, he pointed out, will be done in three phases beginning with Grand Bassa County in phase one and will subsequently head to Grand Cape Mount, Bomi and Margibi counties, respectively.
Mr. Toby stressed that the Liberian leader will spend a night or two in each county and will hold town hall and development meetings, as well as dedication of projects, based on project related county.
According to Toby, President Weah will be accompanied by eight Government Line Ministries and Agencies officials to include: The Ministry of State, Internal Affairs, Health, Agriculture, Public Works, Finance and Development Planning, Information and the General Services Agency.
He told reporters the official date set for phase two of the nationwide tour will be announced later, as Nimba and Bong Counties will be next, as per the new schedule and time table set up by government.
As part of his decentralization plans, President Weah has promised to connect all county capital cities and focus on the improvement of the country’s agriculture sector, among others.
In another development, President Weah has set up an internal agency task force in all agencies and Government Ministries. Mr. Toby said the move is to weed-out ghost names from Government’s payroll, which has been an age-old challenge.
The Civil Service Agency as part of the initiative will head the task force and will be ably assisted by the Ministries of Finance and Development Planning, Labor, Justice, Internal Affairs and the General Services Agency respectively.
Meanwhile and in a move to robustly execute the process, all government employees have been instructed to obtain a biometric identification card before the end of March of 2020.