US Amb.Extols MCC Compact’s Impact
The United States Government says it is proud of the positive results of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Liberia Compactprojects being implemented by the Millennium Challenge in Liberia.The MCC Liberia Compact encourages economic growth that reduces poverty, creates new opportunities, and improves the lives of Liberians.
In a letter address to media houses in Monrovia on Thursday, US Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder, said as Liberia approaches a crucial point in fulfilling its commitment to increase access to affordable power for its citizens, it is an ideal time to address recent questions about the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Liberia Compact.In the letter, Ambassador Elder pointed out that the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant is the best example of what this Compact has accomplished, adding, “Destroyed during the wars, the hydropower plant’s four turbines are now online and can produce 88 megawatts of power — more than doubling the country’s generation capacity.”
“However, this is only part of what is needed to bring affordable electricity to more Liberians; the current phase of the project now is to ensure that electricity reaches Liberians’ homes and businesses as well as becoming a solvent, self-sustaining public utility,”, the US envoy emphasized.
Ambassador Elder explained that Liberia Compact has two goals: increase access to reliable and affordable electricity, and strengthen Liberia’s roads sector and that the MCC task is to work with other donors in these sectors to maximize the impact for Liberia, stressing the need for the Compact to also prioritize the training of Liberians in the various sectors to maintain the progress made once the program ends in 2021.
She indicated that this requires infrastructure improvements through the erecting of towers, stringing transmission wires, and building relay stations and customer service centers which will be implemented by the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC).
Elder added that providing affordable electricity to Liberians will also require improving the financial, operational, and customer service procedures of LEC and investing in capacity building that will put LEC on a path for sustainable growth.
“Completing this phase is a massive, historic undertaking, which the Liberian Government decided to implement with the support of an experienced Management Services Contractor, a firm which holds temporary leadership responsibility for operation of the utility, improvements to the system, and building the capacity of future LEC leaders,” she noted.
The US envoy disclosed that the Management Services Contractor engagement was awarded by the LEC after a transparent and open international competitive bidding process, managed with rigorous oversight by the U.S. government.
According to her, both the U.S. Government (through MCC) and the LEC Board of Directors approved the selected firm and retain oversight by approving training and management plans along with other strategic reports.
She clarified that the series of checks and balances ensures that the contributions of American taxpayers are being used with the greatest efficiency, and that Liberians benefit from the program within the agreed time frame.
Ambassador Elder pointed out that the Liberia Compact has many features to ensure accountability, including internationally accepted guidelines for procurement, financial management, and public disclosures.
It also works under additional safeguards, including two international teams, a fiscal agent and a procurement agent, as well as implementation support and oversight from MCC in these areas.
The MCC is a U.S. foreign aid agency that has been helping partner governments fight global poverty since its creation by the U.S. Congress in 2004.
It provides time-limited grants called “compacts” to reduce poverty through private sector investment driving economic growth.
The Liberian Government during the Ebola crisis in 2014 appealed to the US Government for US$257 million Liberia Compact which was signed in January 2016.
The Liberia MCC model is different from other forms of U.S. assistance because is being implemented by the Liberian government through an entity called the Millennium Challenge Account – Liberia.