Monday, 09 May 2022 12:55

CSOs Express Concern Over IMF’s $350 Millon Covid-Related Funds…Accuse Government of Being Tightlipped Featured

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CSOs Express Concern Over IMF’s $350 Millon Covid-Related Funds

…Accuse Government of Being Tightlipped

A local civil society organization, Public Health Initiative Liberia (PHIL) says the whereabouts of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) $350 million allocation to Liberia intended to, among other things: boost the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) reserves; support economic growth and fight Covid 19 though vaccines remains in limbo.

PHIL’s Executive Director, Joyce L. Kilikpo said PHIL, along with other CSOs have been exerting efforts to demand for accountability on the prudent utilization of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) that was allotted to Liberia, but to no avail.

Speaking Thursday, May 5, 2022, on CENTAL’s Integrity Watch Radio Program aired on ECOWAS Radio 91.5 FM and relayed on Prime 105.5 FM, Madam Kilikpo said it is frustrating that key government institutions concerned, including the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) have vehemently refused to provide any information on the whereabouts of the fund.

“It’s so sad and very frustrating that a Government that should be accountable to the people would refuse to provide information on money that was intended to help the country and its people. The lack of information, or access to information, especially under this administration is seriously hampering our work as CSOs,” said Madam Kilikpo.

 

According to the PHIL boss, of all the institutions/organizations written/engaged since February this year on the whereabouts of the US$350 million, only the Ministry of Health and IMF have so far responded to their inquiries. Both Ministry of Health and IMF have expressed concerns over the fund. The IMF has called for openness in all processes regarding this and other funds for Liberia.  

“The MFDP and CBL are yet to give us audience since we wrote them in February requesting to have a meeting with them on the matter,” she stated.  

The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries' official reserves. To date, a total of SDR 660.7 billion (equivalent to about US$943 billion) have been allocated. A country's IMF quota, the maximum amount of financial resources that it is obligated to contribute to the fund, determines its allotment of SDRs.

However, Madam Kilikpo stated that credible information received indicate that the Government of Liberia unilaterally redirected the funds to infrastructure development without the knowledge and consent of its partners/stakeholders.

“Even though this information is yet to be verified, but the refusal of these two key institutions to give us audience speaks to the lack of transparency and accountability on the SDR allocated to Liberia,” the PHIL boss said. Meanwhile, the Public Health Initiative Liberia Executive Director has called for a joint advocacy effort by CSOs in the country on the matter.

In 2019, nine (9) foreign diplomats, including the head of the European Delegation to Liberia and ambassadors of the United States of America, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland warned the Government of Liberia against redirection of their monies at the CBL.

The diplomats accused the Government of irregular withdrawals of their project monies from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for use outside of the intended purposes.

The Integrity Watch Radio Program is a key advocacy tool of CENTAL that provides essential information around the state of the fight against corruption and national integrity building efforts as well as promotes the culture of accountability, transparency, integrity and evidence-based decision-making across all sectors and institutions in the country. Aired Wednesday and Thursday on Truth FM and ECOWAS Radio, the Program serves as an advocacy, coordination and engagement platform to rally citizens and other stakeholders’ support for the fight against corruption and bad governance in Liberia.

With support from the Government of Sweden through SIDA, it is an activity under CENTAL’s ongoing National Integrity Building and Anti-Corruption (NIBA) Program.  

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Read 391 times Last modified on Monday, 16 May 2022 10:32

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