8 February Press Briefing Notes

Monday, 8th February 2010
Welcome, members of the Press to this briefing session.
ē    President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as you may be aware, was in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa last week to attend the 14th Session of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. During the summit, the President took time off to hold side meetings with a number of personalities, among them, the President of the World Bank, Mr. Robert Zoellick.

Their discussions focused primarily on World Bank projects in the country, particularly in road rehabilitation and construction, against concerns by President Sirleaf over the slow implementation of road projects being funded by the Bank.

The  Cotton Tree to Buchanan and the Paynesville red light to Ganta road projects are of paramount concern to the President, who has again urged the World Bank to exercise some level of flexibility in regulations governing the implementation of projects, particularly in post conflict countries like Liberia.

Mr. Zoellick responded positively to the Presidentís call and said it is important to speed up the implementation of those projects, particularly those which have direct impact on employment in the country.  Mr. Zoellick said that he understands the challenges post conflict countries, particularly Liberia have to face in meeting the high expectations of the people, urging officials overseeing World Bank Projects in Liberia to act with urgency in putting in place measures that would shorten the bureaucratic hurdles delaying the implementation of projects.

ē    President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, last week, during the Annual Convention in Gbarnga, Bong County of the Unity Party, called on heads of Ministries and Agencies to consider employing at least two members of the party, who possess the requisite qualifications.
The Presidentís request is in response to concerns among partisans of the Unity Party that most of them are not being given the opportunity to contribute their services in the employ of Government, although they possess the qualifications.

The Presidentís request would in no way violate civil service rules and regulations governing employment in the public sector. Additionally, Liberians working in Government circles would not be dismissed only to be replaced by Unity Partisans.
The exercise is only intended to give an opportunity to other Liberians who equally deserve employment in government or other agencies of government.

I thank you.