Back in 2019, when the US$53 million ministerial complex building was turned over to the Liberian government as a gift from its Chinese counterpart, it came as a major rescue.
This has now begun to lessen the heavy burden on the government on rent from the five ministries and one agency that are currently using the building. Most importantly, the building was going to give the Tubman Boulevard in Congo Town a new much-needed facelift.
But a year later, it seems that the government is unable to take care of the building, which was built with money from China. The building, for the last three months, is not only dirty but has been without electricity, impeding the workings of civil servants.
Credible reports gathered by the Daily Observer have revealed that several offices at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town have been operating without electricity.
The Ministerial Complex, owned and operated by the Liberian Government, hosts at least five ministries. It was built to ease the heavy burden of rent the government has over the years paid to individuals. The complex sits on an area of 24,000 square meters and features offices, meeting rooms, lecture halls, multi-functional conference hall, archive room, administration rooms, and dining hall.
It also has 255 parking spaces and other auxiliary facilities, which include water pump room (reservoir), substations and distribution room, generator room. Some parts of the building are already well-furnished.
A source, who works at one of the ministries requested to remain anonymous, told the Daily Observer that, with the exception of the offices of the Ministers and their deputies (whose offices are all on the top floors), the rest of the ministerial complex has been without electricity for months, this, according to the employee, is hampering many operations daily.
According to the source, due to this situation, some staffers who have important paperwork to be done are forced to bring in their personal generators to do their jobs, others have to go out of the complex to an internet café to print or photocopy documents.
“I mean, I am talking about Directors, Coordinators including other essential staff. Some people here bring their personal generators to ease the job,” he added.
Efforts to reach Madame Mary T. Broh, Director General for the General Services Agency, the functionary that has direct oversight on the Ministerial Complex, did not materialize. Several calls and a text message were sent to her to enquire about the electricity situation at the complex but, up to the publication of this story, there was no response.
However, the source indicated that the building has a big power-house that is capable of supplying the entire complex, but the lack of money to fuel the generator is an impediment. “We had LEC here before,” the source said, adding that if the building is connected to the public utility provider, the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), the problem they are facing will cease to exist.
Our source says he has been working for the MOE for nearly a decade, and that they have never experienced such an accident. “We have not been in such working condition like this before. How, in a working environment, do some people have the right to electricity while the others do not?” the source asked, describing the situation as unacceptable and must claim the attention of President George M. Weah.
An employee of at the Ministry of Labor (MOL) also explained that, prior to this report, there was information circulating in the building that the entire complex lacks transformers and, as such, it may go for several months without electricity. When asked about who made the pronouncement, he said, “I heard it from one of the Ministers here, we are going through hell here my son,” the staffer narrated.
The source narrated his Minister’s statement, saying: “We do not have a transformer that can supply the whole complex and, because of this, very soon we will only allow Ministers to get electricity until we can find a solution to this problem.
He further explained that recently, one of the directors who had a piece of work to do and he sent him (our source) to a minister’s office with a pen drive for the purpose of printing out his documents. Unfortunately, the minister’s chief of office staff refused to grant him access to the minister, a situation which, he said, got him frustrated.