Several individuals representing business organizations have expressed their dissatisfaction and opposition over actions by the National Legislature to pass an amended act forbidding the Executive Governor, board of governors and deputies of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) from participating in national politics.
Recently the Senate passed the bill, which emanated from Senator Armah Jallah. It was concurred with by the House of Representatives at a speed that some have described as “4G speed.”
Among other things, the bill seeks to restrict the governor of the CBL and its principal deputies from participating in national politics by declaring they should resign their positions at least three years ahead of elections.
The bill has been met by negative public sentiment since its passage over a week ago. It is being described by heads of the business community as “One with a selfish aim” detrimental to the rights of citizens to exercise their political franchise.
Reading from a prepared statement to journalists Tuesday, February 25, at a press conference, Mr. Samuel F. McGill, Executive Director of Liberia National Empowerment Network (LINEN), said the ‘Bill’ passed by the 53rd National Legislature is unconstitutional and discriminatory. The statement described it as witch hunting and targeting the Executive Governor of the CBL, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones.
McGill said: “This man is doing the right thing by empowering Liberian owned businesses in the country.”
According to McGill, the action by lawmakers did not only contravene international best practice, but it also undermined the independence, credibility, powers and functions of the CBL to intervene in the Liberian economy and implement monetary policy.
“We the Peace Loving Liberian Owned organizations and communities term this bill as the anti-progressive ‘4G’ amended version of the CBL Act, which is considered the fastest bill ever enacted by a sitting National Legislature since the independence of our beloved country; especially as it was passed without any public hearing or debate,” the group observed.
For his part, Mr. Samuel Tamba Jimessie, Sr., president of the ECOWAS transport union said the Senators failed to realize that this country has comes a long way, and as such Liberian need to be motivated in the business sector.
In an exclusive interview with our business desk, Mr. Jimessie noted that those responsible to empower them are the same people passing bill against them, especially against CBL officials who are trying to lift them out of poverty.
“With this kind of bill passed into law it would be very difficult for any one from the CBL to help us,” he explained, adding “the National Legislature should not only pass laws for today but for the future as well.”
The ECOWAS transport union president added that the bill is intended to suffer the “grass rooters” of this country.
“As business people we are calling on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to veto this unconstitutional bill in the spirit of reconciliation, peace and security for all Liberians.”
Meanwhile, heads of business entities affixing their signature to the statement include: Dee Maxwell Kemayah, Sr., president of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA); Madam Lusu Sloan, president of Liberia Marketing Association (LMA); Lasana K. Dawon, president of Liberia National Tailor Textile Garment and Allied Worker Union (LNTTGAWU); Josephine J. Nagbe, president, Village Saving Loan Association (VSLA); Mohammed S. Turay, Liberia Furniture and Carpentry Development Union (LFCDU); and Saye J.Biyie, Chairman of the Board of directors, Liberia Credit Union National Association (LCUNA, among others.