More than 24,000 residents and dozens of small and medium business entities continue to depend on outdated hand pumps installed by aid agencies in Voinjama City, Lofa County.The Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation through one of its implementing partners, Liberia Municipal Water Project (LMWP) and supported by USAID, should be able to provide pipe borne water to Voinjama City.Every week, hundreds of residents scramble at the limited hand pumps in the desperate search for clean water for domestic and other uses.According to the Voinjama sub office of the Liberia Institute of Statistics for Geo-information Services (LISGIS) there are 24000 residents inhabiting the Lofa capital.During the tour of some of the affected communities in Voinjama last Tuesday, it was gathered that majority of the residents are crying for safe drinking water.According to the affected residents, many of them arise as early as 4:30 a.m. to be able to obtain enough water for the day.At one of the overcrowded hand pumps at Karzar Quarter in Voinjama City, water peddlers told the Daily Observer that even during this rainy season, securing clean water is indeed an uphill battle throughout the week.“You can imagine during the dry season, our water situation will be indeed desperate and worrisome. Something urgent must be done to complete our Liberia municipal Water Project,” peddler Sarah B. Mulbah stressed.The LMWP water project, which is supported by USAID, has delayed that doubts continue to linger in the people’s minds as to whether Voinjama will ever be blessed with safe drinking water.A cook shop owner, Elizabeth B. Massayan, told the Daily Observer that the water situation of Voinjama City needs attention.According to one of Voinjama City’s prominent businessmen, Anthony Mulbah Karzarku, small business enterprises are encountering serious hardships due to some of the challenges associated with obtaining safe drinking water.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…says Disciplined Services, public servants deserved the courtesyBy Michael YoungeOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday severely criticised the People’s National Congress-led A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Government’s decision to deny public servants and serving members of the Disciplined Services the traditional year-end bonus in addition to their salaries.Jagdeo, speaking at a press conference held at his Church Street office, said the fact that Government did not “see it fit” to grant these bonuses was appalling and would no doubt have an impact on not only the mood of these hard-workingOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeopeople but also buoyancy of the economy.He said traditionally over $2 billion was set aside to fund the expenditure associated with year-end bonuses.Arguing that “that makes a huge difference to people out there”, the Opposition Leader opined that the non-payment, therefore, would contribute to the rise in uncertainty among people about their financial security in the future as he referenced the thousands of people who were expected to be laid off from the East Demerara Sugar Estates later this month.“…Spending patterns in the sugar belt have also changed, because people are concerned about their ability to earn next year … And so that is a contributory factor to the bleak situation out there (in the country),” he warned.He held fast to the view that people’s disposable incomes and their ability to earnFinance Minister Winston Jordanrevenue during the busy Christmas season could in part be affected adversely.“As a result of this, we are seeing some sloth in the season and I do hope that the parade picks up later for the sake of vendors and others who are having a hard time…in relation to their ability to earn. And it seems to me that the issue of disposable income is affecting large groups of people who traditionally had more money to spend.”He dismissed the Government’s argument that it was unable to grant the bonuses because of a lack of fiscal space. Jagdeo, however, told reporters that there were multimillion variances created because of the Finance Minister’s fascination with the presentation of early budgets.“The one-month variance alone in 2016 showed an $8 billion improvement in the fiscal accounts by January 1, 2017, because they had underestimated revenue and overestimated expenditure. And there is no doubt that 2017 will have a similar situation…and so next year when the Budget is presented, you will see a massive fiscal space that the Government could have used had they been more realistic with the finances to give people their bonuses,” he remarked.Last year, the two groups were also snubbed by Government as they benefited from no bonuses. Back in November 2016, Finance Minister Winston Jordan, while announcing marginal adjustments to the taxes paid by workers, lashed out at the public service, calling it lethargic and inept.He later told reporters that Government simply did not have the monies available to make the one-month tax-free payment to members of the public service.Expanding on his position then, the Minister told the House that all across the Public Sector, we are faced with issues of sluggishness in implementation, poor inter-agency coordination and cooperation, and a deficit of strategic planning and management.The Minister instead promised in 2016 that Government would continue to engage the unions in negotiations to find common ground to issues pertaining to wage and salary adjustment, de-bunching and allowances, taking into consideration the state of the economy and the desire to maintain macroeconomic stability.