DECEMBER 4, 2014 By Jariatu Bangura
Parliament on Monday ratified a US$99,450,000 grant agreement signed between the Government of Sierra Leone and the International Development Association, dated 20 November 2014, to finance the Ebola emergency response project.
Speaking in the Well of Parliament, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Kaifala Marah, said the grant was an addition to the US$28m financing agreement ratified by Parliament on 23 September this year.
He said the grant was provided following an appeal for urgent assistance through video conferencing with partners in Washington by President Ernest Bai Koroma.
He said the grant would help stem the Ebola virus disease by ensuring the availability of selected essential health services, as well mitigate the socio-economic impact of the outbreak on the country.
Dr. Marah noted that the Government of Sierra Leone would pay maximum commitment fees on the unwithdrawn financing balance of ½% per one percent per annum, and that the fees will be disbursed this year.
Hon. Hassan Sheriff of Constituency 053 enthused that the agreement was to help address payment of health workers, noting that there has been a lot of disquiet among health workers about hazard allowances, and urged that the funds be utilized judiciously.
On her part, Deputy Chairperson of the Health Committee, Hon. Isata Kabia of Constituency 050, said aggrieved health workers should be treated seriously as the recurring issue is quiet disturbing, despite several meetings to solve the situation.
She said the Ebola fight is a national fight that should be taken seriously as huge funds have been put into it, while the use of the funds should be monitored efficiently to ensure they are being expended on affected communities and victims.