LIBERIA – The administration of President George Manneh Weah, especially the Ministries of Finance and Development Planning and the Ministry of Education still silent on the missing US$4 million intended for infrastructures improvement and expansion, including the renovation of 33 public schools and refurbishing of 15 science laboratories in secondary schools, including the purchase of 78,000 pieces of chairs for use by public schools across the nation.
Smart News Liberia gathered from a highly placed source in the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) ruling establishment that a misunderstanding ensued between mentioned ministries about US$4 million allocated in 2018/2019 National Budget intended to refurbish public schools across the country.
The source alleged that under the 2018/2019 Public Sector Investment Project appropriation, the Ministry of Education was allocated US$4 million for infrastructures improvement and expansion, including the renovation of 33 public schools and refurbishing of 15 science laboratories in secondary schools, including the purchase of 78,000 pieces of chairs for use by public schools across the nation.
According to the source, there is growing concern as to why no single school is yet to benefit from the exercise as magnified in the 2018/2019 national budget.
It can be recalled, Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah commenting on the issue last year, indicated that the amount was never used for the intended purpose in the 2018/2019 budget disclosing renovation of public schools and science laboratories will be carried out in 2020/21 National Budget, which according to the source has never been done.”
Howbeit, a well-placed official at the Ministry of Education who asked Smart News for anonymity claimed the Ministry of Education did not receive that amount and the physical condition of schools in and around Monrovia can attest to what he saying.
He told Smart News to believe what he saying is to visit the counties and will be astonished that in this time and age, students are still sitting on blocks to acquire knowledge, no decent blackboards, saying: “The learning environment is unfriendly, yet, officials are playing games with the future of the country…”
According to him, MOE is more than prepared to ensure that the Act that established the Ministry is expeditiously carried out, he stressed that the outright refusal by the Ministry of Finance to allow the Ministry of Education to assess its allotment in 2018/2019 budget is one of the impediments regarding the smooth functions of the Ministry.
When asked whether his Ministry usually requests the Ministry of Finance before accessing its allotment, he answered in the negative, adding, “What is mine should be mine, I do not have to request before getting funds to carry out my statutory functions.”
Notwithstanding, the issue remains a major concern to some officials of government and ordinary citizens. President George Weah, a few months ago last year, was out in the field visiting public schools allegedly to ascertain whether the learning atmosphere is conducive for school-going kids.
Whether the President’s tour of public schools in and around Monrovia is connected to the controversy surrounding the utilization of the allotted amount remains a conjecture.
While the Ministries of Finance and Education are in a blame-shifting game, it appears that President Weah has even forgotten that he has already allotted US$4illion in the 2018/2019 budget for amongst other things, the refurbishing of public schools and science laboratories as well as the purchase of 78,000 chairs for public schools.
It can be recalled, during the tour of public schools in Monrovia, President Weah again mandated Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah to make available additional 100,000 chairs for public schools and refurbish the schools.
Meanwhile, all efforts applied to get clarity from both ministries of Finance and Education on the issue did not materialize as Tweah and Sonii deliberately refused to answer Smart News’ inquiry. Investigation continues