Liberia: Senate Forms Principal Oversight Committee for COVID-19

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The POC of the Senate was designated in the joint resolution to be appointed by the President Pro-Tempore to work collaboratively with the committee set up by the Speaker of the House of Representatives

MONROVIA – The Senate has formed a principal oversight committee (POC) to work with the oversight committee of the House of Representatives as required by the joint resolution approving the state of emergency endorsed by the Legislature.

The POC of the Senate was designated in the joint resolution to be appointed by the President Pro-Tempore to work collaboratively with the committee set up by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The POC will drive the oversight responsibility of the Senate in respect of the various measures indicated in the joint resolution. The Committee will work with ministries and agencies of the government to formulate plans and programs for the implementation of the measures indicated in the joint resolution.

The eight-members principal oversight committee is headed by Maryland County SenatorJ. Gbleh-bo Browne. Other members of the POC include: Senator Peter S. Coleman Co-chair, Senator Stephen Zargo Member, Senator NyonbleeKarnga Lawrence, Member, Senator Conmany B. Wesseh, Member, and Senator Morris G. Saytumah Member, Senator Daniel F. Naatehn Member and Senator G. Alphonso Gaye Member.

The Senate also established various sub-committees to exercise oversight over various aspects of the National COVID-19 Response such as the Health Response, Security, Utilities, the Re-cast Budget and the Management of Donor Funds, Small Bank Loans and the Stimulus Program and the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.

The sub-committees on the Health Response and the Security Response will make their first reports through the POC to the Senate Plenary on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.

This committee will coordinate the work of all subcommittees and make periodic report to the Senate leadership who will in return make report to Plenary of the Senate. On the other hand, according to the Senate, the subcommittees will drive the sectorial responses to COVID-19 embedded in the joint resolution.

 They (subcommittee) will help formulate plans and programs which will focus on the containment and mitigation of the scourge of COVID-19 and its eradication from Liberia. The committee will collaborate with respective committees in the House of Representatives up to the end of the pandemic in the Country.

“For all plans and programs special emphasis will be place on services to infected persons, health and other frontline workers, women and children and members of the vulnerable population. The POC and subcommittees are required to develop detailed terms of reference for their respective committees to submit to the senate leadership through the House of Representatives.”

The POC will drive the oversight responsibility of the Senate in respect of the various measures indicated in the joint resolution. The Committee will work with ministries and agencies of the government to formulate plans and programs for the implementation of the measures indicated in the joint resolution.

Subcommittee on emergency relief fund

The relief fund has been created through the joint resolution to serve as a vehicle to solicit funds through voluntary contributions from private sources to augment the effort of the Government of Liberian and international partners to fund various COVIDD-19 programs.

The Sub-committee on Health Response

This committee will analyze the health and related components under the National Response Plan and as a start, request a progress report from Health Authorities on the status of the implementation of the plan, including challenges.

  The focus will be on the following:  Ensuring that all counties are included in the National Response Plan with an approved budget to keep all Government Hospitals and health centers functional;  Ensuring that equipment and other materials for the health facilities needed to protect the health workers and treat coronavirus patients are available;  Ensuring that the respond structures for the counties are organized and supported timeously; and  Ensuring that quarantine and holding centers and testing laboratories are decentralized.

Sub-committee on Security Response

The scope of work of the Sub-committee on Security Response will include, inter alia, movement of goods and people, the stay-home order, quarantine and curfew as the case may be and pay and other incentives for frontline security.

The Sub-committee will provide guidance on the overall security architecture relating to all measures aimed at eliminating the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Sub-committee on Food Support and Distribution

The Sub-committee will ensure that all food procured under this program reach the intended targets in all counties of Liberia, with priority given to vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the population.

It will also ensure that the appropriate plans and structures are put in place to distribute the food fairly without discrimination and without extra cost to the citizens and residents.

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