Daily Media Summary 2017-05-18

The Bureau of Public Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Monrovia, Liberia


Today’s edition of our Summary of the local dailies highlights news of the visit of U.S Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Thomas E. Price, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s departure for the United States of America and appointment of additional members of her government.


Trump’s Secretary of Health Visits Liberia

The U.S Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Thomas E. Price, is currently in Liberia on a two-day visit. He is the first senior official of the Donald Trump Administration to visit Liberia since taking over from the Obama Administration early this year. Speaking shortly after arrival at the Roberts International Airport on May 17, Dr. Price said the visit is meant to “Deliver a message of support, appreciation and commitment” of the bilateral relation between the United States and Liberia. He added that Liberia has over the years worked tremendously and shown resilience in battling infectious diseases, including the devastating Ebola virus disease, and the US working together with Liberia through mutual cooperation to build the needed health system in the country. “We are here to show President Trump’s appreciation to Liberians for the work they are doing, and we will work side by side to develop the health workforce to solve remarkable challenges in the area of infectious diseases,” Dr. Price said. In her welcoming statement, Health Minister Bernice Dahn described Dr. Price’s visit as a “big mark” in the history of Liberia’s health and the bilateral relations between the two countries. Dr. Dahn also acknowledged the US government’s role in building Liberia’s health sector and provided some historical synopses of activities during and after the Ebola outbreak, writes the Daily Observer.

Related Captions: Building Resilient Health Trump’s Administration to Assist Liberia’s Health Sector (FrontPage Africa), Trump Promises More Support For Liberia (The New Dawn), U.S. Health Secretary Hails Liberia For Progress (The INQUIRER), U.S. Grades Liberia High Mark (Heritage)

Ellen Off To United States Of America

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has departed the country for the United States of America. The Liberian leader left on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 according to an Executive Mansion release. While in the U. S., President Sirleaf will serve as the commencement speaker at Babson College in Massachusetts.  She will also hold series of important meetings while in the United States. During the absence of the President, Justice Minister Cllr. Frederick Cherue will chair the Cabinet in consultation with the Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai. Meanwhile, President Sirleaf returns to the country on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, the Heritage newspaper reads.

Related Captions: President Sirleaf Departs For U.S (The New Dawn), President Sirleaf off to United States of America (FOCUS)

Ellen Makes New Appointments In Gov’t

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has made new appointments at the Ministries of Agriculture and Internal Affairs and reconstituted the Board of Trustees of the Grand Bassa Community College (GBCC). Those appointed are: Mrs. Seklau Wiles Minister, Ministry of Agriculture; Mr. Mark Kolleh - Commissioner, Borlorla Township, Margibi County; . Dr. Joseph T. Isaac – Chairman; Rev. Dr. Samuel B. Reeves Jr., Co-Chairman among others of the Board of Trustees of the Grand Bassa Community College, reads the INQUIRER newspaper.

Related Captions: Seklau Wiles Is New Agric Minister (Daily Observer), As Ellen Makes New Appointment in Gov’t Agriculture Minister Fired (Heritage)


Gov’t World Bank Sign US$15m Health Financing Agreement

The Daily Observer reads that the Government of Liberia and the World Bank have signed a US$15 million Health Financing Agreement for collaborative disease surveillance and epidemic preparedness in the country. The Ministry of Finance & Development Planning (MFDP) said the agreement will provide the needed opportunity for Liberia to ‘operationalize’ lessons from the recent disease outbreak in Sinoe County. Minister Kamara said the Liberian government and people will remain grateful for such an intervention, most especially when the government is making all necessary strides in ensuring that the health of its people are catered to. For her part, World Bank Liberia Country Manager Madam Larisha Leshchenko extended deepest condolences to the victims and families of the recent disease outbreak in Sinoe County and commended the Liberian government and partners for their effective responses to control the transmission. Madam Leshchenko noted that the outbreak highlighted progress made in strengthening surveillance and control in areas where there are still a lot of work to do, such as laboratory capacity.

Related Caption: Gov’t World Bank sign US$15M Health Financing Agreement (FOCUS)

Save The Children Donates To JFK

Save the Children has donated assorted medical supplies and equipment to the John F. Medical Hospital (JFK) at the Administrative Office of the hospital in the suburb of Monrovia. The assorted supplies donated were latex examination gloves, Kleen Guard, as well as Sphygmomanometer, Safety Box and Incineration including Multi-scan Go-Spechophometer for RNA/DNA Plate reading along with a Blood Bank Refrigerator which is used for storing blood and its product among others. Presenting the medical supplies and equipment, Charles Sevee, Acting Country Team Leader, Save the Children said the entity decided to donate these essential supplies to the hospital to enhance its functions. He said health issues have been one of the major programs that the entity had been involved with in Liberia over the years, the INQUIRER newspaper reads.

Boakai Bemoans Liberia’s Reliance on Foreign Aid…Says It Cannot Develop a Country

Vice President Joseph Boakai says Liberia has been documented as one of the countries which, over the years, have received the highest International aid or grants in Africa. However, according to the Vice President, “if you look at all the donations, the contributions to engage the figures, how you translate that is something that is not visible.” Speaking to reporters in Gbargna, on Sunday, May 14, 2017 after his official endorsement by Bong County citizens to contest for the Liberian Presidency in the October elections, VP Boakai lamented that provisions of financial aid or grants to Liberia is good but, such funding support from international community cannot be reliance upon sorely for national development, reports the INSIGHT newspaper.

Call Tax Repealed-Lawmakers Say Their Action Was In Response To Public Outcry

The House of Representatives has voted to repeal section 1165 and to amend 1021 (B) (2) of the Revenue code as amended in 2016.  According to the FrontPage Africa newspaper, the House took the decision based on findings and recommendations from the joint committees on Ways, Means and Finance, Telecommunications and Judiciary. The Legislature passed an amendment to the revenue code of 2000 in the name of economic empowerment tax which leveled 0.01 US cent per minute tax on all local voice calls. According to plenary Tuesday, in response to the many public outcries the Executive and the Legislature engaged in a series of discussions aimed at providing a relief to the crying people as families found it difficult to communicate with each other because of the tax. Representative Numene T.H. Bartekwa (MPC-District #2 Grand Kru County) chairman on the House committee on Telecommunication said the joint committee embarked on numerous consultations at various levels as it examined the draft bill as per the mandate of plenary.

Related Caption: House Votes To Repeal US$0.01 Tax On Voice Calls-Law Sent To Senate For Concurrence (Daily Observer)

1M Nat’l, ECOWAS Biometric ID Cards Expected Soon

According to the In Profile Daily, the Executive Director of the National Identification Registry (NIR), J. Tiah Nagbe, has disclosed plans by the institution to start the issuance of an ECOWAS and National Biometric Identification card beginning October 1, 2017. Making the disclosure Wednesday at the head offices of the NIR in Congo Town, Executive Director Nagbe disclosed that Liberia has started installation work on a modern biometric national registry in order to issue a biometric national registry in order to issue a biometric ID cards for its citizens and foreign residents.

Related Caption: Biometric ID Cards Launched Over 4-5 Million Liberians To Register And Obtain Citizens Identification Cards (FrontPage Africa)

‘Assessing The Judicial System,’ Judicial Stakeholders Meet In Gbarnga To Assess System

The FrontPage Africa newspaper says a three-day retreat has been organized by the judiciary in Gbarnga, Bong County from Thursday, May 18 to Saturday May 20, 2017 aimed at assessing the Judicial System. The theme of the retreat is “Strengthening the rule of law in Liberia through enhanced judicial performance.” The Gbarnga retreat which is the first-ever for judges, will bring together the Supreme Court Bench, all circuit and specialized court judges as well as stipendiary magistrates from across the country. The judiciary says the three-day retreat is meant to create an environment in which judges can sincerely retrospect on their respective roles and responsibilities in enhancing the work of the judiciary, discuss their shortcomings and how to improve thereon, commit themselves to the ideal of dispensing justice fairly, regardless of affiliation, creed and ethnicity and moreover work collectively to dispel the negative notions and perceptions of the judiciary.

NEC Begins Voters Roll Education Today

The National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected to start a month-long voters’ roll education exercise on Thursday, May 18, in preparation for the October 10 Presidential and Legislative elections. The exercise, which ends on June 18, will intertwine with the provisional voters roll exhibition running from June 12-17, according to the Senior Magistrate of the NEC in Upper Bong County, Daniel Newland. Newland told Radio Gbarnga program Election Watch recently that unlike the past, the commission’s current regulations require all registrants to turnout for the exhibition. He added that voter cards with problems after the final voter roll will not be accepted on elections day. He admonished Liberians to attach seriousness to the upcoming exhibition of the provisional voters roll update to secure their participation in the October Presidential and Legislative elections, reports INSIGHT newspaper.

Liberia’s ECOWAS Parliamentarian Team Packages Country’s Progress

The Liberian Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament has outlined series of progress and achievements the country continues to make under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The Liberian legislators, in its 2017 Liberia’s Country Report to the ECOWAS Parliament, highlighted progress  made in the country since it presented its last Country Report about seven months ago during the regional body’s Second Ordinary Session in 2016. A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says Montserrado County Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe, Jr. read the report on behalf of the Liberian Delegation on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 during the ongoing First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, FOCUS newspaper reads.

World Telecommunication Day Celebrates Affordable Internet Service, Others

The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Dr. Frederick B. Norkeh, has said that the celebration of May 17 as World Telecommunications and Information Day reflects affordable internet service, reduction in the cost of all GSM SIM cards, as well as voice messaging. According to him, many Liberians now have access to communication across the country, which can be attributed to the workings of the Ministry. However, he said, there still remain some challenges which they are working to overcome to ensure that Liberia is not left behind in the world of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Dr. Norkeh stressed on the importance of technology to developing Liberia “because Liberia has to keep up with the speed and the initiative will improve the sector.” The World Telecommunication Day is celebrated annually on May 17 since 1969 to mark the founding of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and signing of the first International Telegraph Convention on May 17, 1865, according to the Daily Observer.

Related Caption: The Government Of Liberia Joined Other Countries Around The World On Wednesday, 17 May In Observance Of International Telecommunication Union Day. (The New Dawn)

WAEC Again! 9th Graders’ Exams Postponed

The West African Examination Council (WAEC), yesterday deferred the 9th graders’ test, scheduled for today, May 19 and Friday, May 20 to Thursday, May 29 and Friday, 30th.  The Daily Observer says no explanation was offered by the Monrovia office up to press time last night.

EPA Inspects Mineral Water Companies

Owing to the proliferation of mineral water companies in the country especially Monrovia and its environs, the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA has begun a spirited inspection exercise of all mineral water companies in the country. The exercise which began last week is a joint exercise of the Ministries of Health, Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency and it is expected to target Monrovia and its environs from the country, the FOCUS newspaper reads.

‘Respect Rule of Law,’ ECOWAS Rep. Urges Political Players

ECOWAS Country Representative Babatunde Ajisomo is admonishing political hopefuls and stakeholders in the 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections to “Respect the rule of Law.” He said the rule of law should be maintained in order to ensure a democratic electioneering process and to set the pace for a smooth transition to the next government in January, 2018. Speaking on the UNMIL Radio “Coffee Break” Wednesday, Ajisomo said any country that does not pay adequate attention to the rule of law will be sowing seeds of conflict, the FOCUS newspaper reads.        

Samukai Wants More Doctors In Military

 A front-page story of the INQUIRER newspaper reads that the Minister of National Defense, Brownie Samukai, says there are many military facilities in the country but there is still lack of military doctors at those facilities admitting that military personnel have benefitted from several trainings since the rebirth of the national army. Speaking when the Ambassador of Rwanda to Liberia, Mathais Herebamungu paid him a courtesy visit at the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense yesterday, Minister Samukai said civilians have been coopted into the military as doctors therefore his desire is if the Liberia military can benefit in such areas of training in the cooperation, the paper says.

43 Midwives To Graduate Saturday In Grand Gedeh

  • About 43 students, comprising 27 females and 16 males, are expected to graduate from the Midwifery Training Program South Eastern Region on Saturday, May 20. This ceremony marks the 11th graduation exercises and will be held at the school’s compound located in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County. A release quotes the Chair of the Graduation Program Committee, Wede Williams, as saying the students will be awarded diplomas in Midwifery feeling three years of studies at the institute. Madam Williams describes this year’s graduation as significant because it will coincide with the official naming program of the school in honor of the late Deanna Kay Isaacson, ELCA Missionary to the Lutheran Church in Liberia from 1966-2000, the FOCUS newspaper reads.