Chairman of the Steering Committee, Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, Speaking to the Media After Appearing Before the Liberian Senate. Chairman of the Steering Committee, Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, Speaking to the Media After Appearing Before the Liberian Senate.

As World Bank Group Gives US$10M - Big Boost For COVID-19 Food Support Program Featured

With barely a little over two weeks to the distribution of the much publicized emergency food packages to Liberians, the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Government’s Household Food Support Program, Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, has disclosed that the World Bank Group has added US$10 million to the US$25 million earlier earmarked by the Government of Liberia (GoL) for stimulus package for Liberians during the ongoing State of Emergency (SoE) declared by President George Manneh Weah in keeping with the constitution, which is regarded as the organic law of the country.

The principal role of the steering committee is to provide direction to the entire distribution process. It can be recalled that few weeks ago, President Weah formally submitted a stimulus package before the Liberian Legislature to provide emergency relief to citizens and residents during the SOE. Following hectic deliberations, the lawmakers approved the President’s SOE and also extended the SoE by 60 days.

Interestingly, early this week, the steering committee, which comprises of government officials, opposition members and the World Food Program (WFP), announced that it will begin the distribution of the emergency food packages to Liberians on May 23, 2020.

It was gathered that the distribution will begin with the initial four affected counties-Montserrado, Margibi, Nimba and Bong Counties and that the remaining 11 counties will be included in the food distribution program at a latter state.

Prof. Wilson, who is the Minister of Commerce and Industry, made the disclosure regarding the World Bank Group US$10 million boost to the food support program on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 when he appeared before the plenary of the Liberian Senate.

Plenary is the highest decision making body of the Liberian Senate. The lawmakers had invited the chairman of the steering committee to provide further details on the pending distribution process.

He further disclosed that there could even more as more discussions are underway with other partners.

“We have been instituting policies for a [transparent] process. We adopted idea used long ago by WFP, and that is a community based process. We are going to work with the local based leadership structure in achieving our goals,” he continued.

“The steering committee has begun discussion with county leaders, both national and local. As local vendors will be considered in the process, they will be assisted to replace what they have sold. We want to ensure that what we are buying can be replenished,” stated Tarpeh.

He added that the ration will include both imported and locally produced rice, red palm oil and gari.

Mr. Aaron Sleh, a representative of the World Food programme (WFP), clarified that the ration in question targets three key populations of the society.

He said the first category of people includes frontline health workers, security personnel who have been working during the course of the State of Emergency, while the second group considers the orphanage, elderly and vulnerable organizations and the third category is community assistance in which the local community leaders will work with the body to identify the neediest.

“It may not necessarily be for everybody. We have three lines of people for the distribution,” added Sleh.

Meanwhile, following the explanations, it was recommended by members of that august body for the head of the steering committee to present clear work plan for the distribution process, a recommendation that was accepted.


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