Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, yesterday took the lead of Senators to request plenary to demand a report on the status of the US$25 million food stimulus package in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The committee set up by the Executive to distribute the food basket has not reported to this body; it is my view that we have failed, refused, and neglected to get this body before us for accountability, we want to know the status of the stimulus package, where is it, and how much has been spent,” Senator Dillon asserted.
He recalled that a similar package of US$25 million was recently approved by the 54th Legislature to be used as a mop-up exercise which yielded a questionable report. Senator Dillon further recalled that in the same vein, the amount of US$35 million was approved by the Legislature for the health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic; “Health workers are agitating through a go-slow action for their hazard money; we in the joint resolution expressly and purposely stated that the recast budget would give priority to the hospitals within the 15 counties. Where are the medical equipment and other needs of hospitals upgrade to help fight not only the COVID-19 but other complications?”
The outspoken lawmaker wondered why they as Senators are not exerting oversight in the interest of check and balance. “So, in the interest of our people, check and balance Mr. Pro-Temp, transparency and accountability, we are asking the Liberian Senate plenary to take seize of these issues to immediately summon the folks spearheading the stimulus package for an update.”
Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay also called for a report on the US$35 million health package; “Because Thirty-five million United States Dollars for COVID-19 was dished out and we want to know where it went. “The last time I checked, Sinoe received US$11,000.00, and I refused to accept that out of US$35 million, $11,000 is not enough for a county like Sinoe. We want to know where the money is gone, so we want that report on the rice because right now no rice has reached Sinoe.”
Also buttressing Senator Dillon’s queries, Senate Pro-Tempore Albert T. Chie expressed interest in knowing the status of the stimulus package, distribution, and other associated events, and right away requested the Secretary of the Senate to invite members of the committee on the stimulus package to appear before plenary on Tuesday with a written report.