President George Weah has pushed his Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) to higher frontiers in the New Year by proposing several other bills to the Legislature, an Executive Mansion release has said.
“To achieve this strategically and legally,” according to the release, the President has rolled out a number of legislations to underpin and guard the implementation of the flagship development mantra, the PAPD.
In his Annual Message on Monday, January 28, 2019, the President disclosed that bills to be forwarded to the Legislature for ratification include an Act to Ratify and Authorize the Payment by the government of tuition fees for all undergraduate students in all public universities and colleges; the National Youth Act; The Liberia Technical Vocational Education and Training Commission Act, and the Revised Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) Act.
Others are the Act to Ratify the Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and Fouta Corporation, Act Ratifying the Agreement for the Establishment of the Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK) and an Act to Amend the Revenue Code of Liberia to reform Excise Tax Law (2018).
Weah also announced a proposed amendment to extend the time required to renew residence permits.
“In Liberia, we have business and other people who have lived here for 30 to 50 years but have to renew residence permit every year,” he said, adding: “This will have to change.”
The President said those who resided in the country for five years or more, without a criminal record, will be eligible under the proposed amendment. “The amendment proposed will also allow permit holders to no longer be required to obtain permits to re-enter the country,” he announced.
“We will also look into revising the requirement for annual renewal of work permits for a longer period,” he declared.
President Weah furthered that the administration would implement a visa-upon-arrival program, as well as the issuance of tourist visas. These bills will serve as addendum to bills President Weah forwarded and which were passed into law by the Legislature in the first year of his presidency.
They include an Act to Ratify the Financing Agreement to provide additional financing for the West African Power Pool, the Local Government Act of 2018, and an Act to Establish the Land Rights Law of 2018.
President Weah said the legislation would help to smooth and enhance efforts toward accomplishing the PAPD, which was launched on October 29, 2018, with the aim to give power to the people, better the economy, create jobs, sustain the peace and improve governance and transparency.
“The overall objective of the PAPD and its ultimate goal is to lift our people from poverty to prosperity,” the President announced.
He however extolled the Legislature for the critical support and cooperation rendered in passing into law several pieces of legislation totaling 26, which he said are relevant to the PAPD.
President Weah has said his administration would place emphasis on the agriculture sector as major impetus for economic revitalization.
“As we kick-start the infrastructure portion of the PAPD through road construction, we also want to place a new emphasis on agriculture,” he said.
The President bemoaned the minute returns realized from the enormous investments put into agriculture, stressing “this will have to change.”
“Our international partners will agree with me that endless national and foreign resources have been and continued to be poured into agriculture, yet returns on these investments are almost negligible,” he said.
According to the release, the President vowed to allot the same effort, time and energy to road projects and programs toward agriculture development.
He added, “I will directly get involved in the programs and practical implementation of agriculture development.”
President Weah said the PAPD can only be sustainably achieved through agriculture, adding: “We will craft new practical and realistic agriculture policies, incentivize the sector by providing access to credit, reducing tariffs on agriculture implements, and provide small machines, modern seeds and fertilizers.”