The Liberian Senate has finally given its blessing to the Executive Branch of the Liberian Government headed by the President, George M. Weah authorizing the State of Emergency to be in full swing for sixty days instead of thirty days as was previously requested.
Below is the Resolution:
WHEREAS, a global pandemic has engulfed the world, threatening the lives of millions of people and has already killed thousands; and,
WHEREAS, Liberia, as a participant in the global setting has seen an increase in the number of cases and an alarming percentage increase in the number of Liberian deaths compared to cases; and,
WHEREAS, on April 8, 2020, the President of Liberia declared the State of Emergency in accordance with Article 86, and on April 14, 2020, laid before the National Legislature certain actions to be taken to protect the lives of Liberians and curtail the outbreak that has amounted to a clear and present danger; and,
WHEREAS, the Legislature in accordance with Article 88, has seventy-two (72) hours to approve, modify or cancel the State of Emergency; and,
WHEREAS, it is the finding of the Legislature that the most important fight at the moment is the fight against COVID 19 pandemic and that all resources within the reach of the Liberian Government must be made available for this singular purpose; and,
WHEREAS the primary duty of government is the security and welfare of its citizens and in a time like this our constitutionally required coordination must accrue to the benefit of the Liberia people; and,
WHEREAS, the Legislature desires to approve the State of Emergency under terms and conditions herein.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA, IN LEGISLATURE ASSEMBLED:
- That the State of Emergency is approved for a period of up to ninety days from its effective date of April 10, 2020. The President may terminate the State of Emergency anytime within the ninety days if the conditions which created the need for the State of Emergency is abated and the clear and present danger absent.
- That all restrictions imposed by the President pertaining to the movement of persons and hours applicable are hereby approved and modified only to the extent that all persons appearing in public streets and buildings must wear a protective device that covers at least the nose and mouth.
- Provided, however, the President of Liberia, on the advice of health experts, may impose an absolute quarantine in the affected counties or portions thereof at a time and for a duration based on expert advice.
- That the initial request for US$25 million is hereby approved for the Food Support Program with the modification that all of the 15 counties within the Republic shall be covered as affected counties for food support and additional amounts needed shall be submitted for re-appropriation. Procurement under this program must first accommodate locally produced food.
- That the food distribution program must prioritize the vulnerable population and the first responder population to wit: the disadvantaged youth, the homeless, orphanages, senior citizens, people with disabilities health workers and security personnel deployed in the frontline of the enforcement of the State of Emergency.
- That the Electricity and Water Support Program is approved and modified to the extent that all cross-border counties served by the West Africa Power Pool arrangements shall be covered under the program. The Water support program shall cover the municipal water program in all counties where they are being currently implemented.
- That the Market Women and Small Informal Petty Traders Bank Loan Program is approved, with modification to add credit unions and related entities registered and doing business before January 1, 2020.
- That the request to appropriate US$15 million for Government Domestic Debt will be considered for the 2020/2021 Fiscal Year budget.
- That a COVID 19 Emergency Relief Fund is created for the solicitation of private donations from individuals, group of individuals, local and international private organizations, business enterprises and any other person interested in assisting the most vulnerable populations of the Republic against the scourge of COVID 19.
- All health workers shall receive monthly hazard pay for regular as well as volunteer workers as provided for by international organizations.
- All frontline security personnel shall receive monthly extended duty pay for the duration of the State of Emergency. The appropriations of amounts under this program shall be subject to the recast budget.
- That the Tax Policy and Administration Stimulus Program is hereby approved.
13.That a Joint Select Emergency Oversight Committee to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the Senate exercise oversight over all of the programs approved in this resolution and report to both chambers.
- That all appropriations or re-appropriations approved in this Joint Resolution shall be subject to the recast budget process in accordance with the budget law. And in any such recast process, priority shall be given to the hospital systems in the 15 counties throughout the Republic and the National Response Plan.
- The measures contained herein may be amended at any time during the existence of the State of Emergency consistent with the oversight responsibilities of the Legislature.
- That the Legislature shall remain seized of the matters contained herein.
ANY LAW TO THE CONTRARY NOTWITHSTANDING