EJS Center distances herself from 1.2 Million
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently came under huge criticism when it came to public notice that two separate budget line items in the tune of 1.2 million, in the FY2022 Budget were supposed to be given to the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Women Foundation and Amujae Initiative as budget support.
Critics said Madam Sirleaf as a global icon and well-connected personality does not deserve such as a support from a government that is struggling to raise money for crucial development and salaries of civil servants.
However latest renews on the desk of Womenvoices indicates that the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center) has distanced itself from a purported US$1.2 million that surfaced in the 2022 national budget as a line item under the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection.
Responding to a mediainquiry, the EJS Center disclosed that it does not received any money from the Government of Liberia. The Center said, on the contrary, it pays money to government through withholding tax system from staff salaries provided by institutions outside Liberia.
Appearing for budget hearing, recently, Gender Minister Williametta Piso Tarr told journalists that she was not aware of how the two budget lines were inserted under her Ministry.
Pundits have averred that with the latest information from EJS Center distancing itself from the 1.2 million-budget lines, it has rather made matter mysterious, wondering who would be the invisible hand behind the Gender Ministry’s Budget.
Some gender experts who spoke on anonymity said, though it is necessary to maintain the two budget lines under Gender Ministry, they advised that it should rather be directed to other women organizations and institutions that are tremendously contributing to gender and women empowerment development in Liberia but are not supported.
But on Page 279 of the 2022 National Budget, under the “Subsidy” sub-category for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, there are two line items attributed to the EJS Center. The first line item (255105), “Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Women Foundation” shows an allotment of US$1 million for FY2022. The other line item (256105), “Amujae Initiative”, which is the EJS Center’s flagship program, shows an allotment of US$200,000.
The House of Representatives Committee on Gender hinted that it did not remove the lines but was rather allowing the Minister of Gender to make final determination as to where to spend the money. Did the Liberian Senate do the same? Well, that concern constitutes Womenvoices next investigation.