Members of the House of Representatives have unanimously voted to summon Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Jr and expenditure officials to appear before the full plenary, concerning “delays in payment” of Social Development Fund to Grand Bassa County.
The Finance Minister and expenditure officials are to appear in open session on Thursday, October 27, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. An "open session" means a meeting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, to which members of the public have access.
The House’s decision followed a communication from Grand Bassa County District #1 Rep. Hans M. Barchue, who also chairs the Grand Bassa County Legislative Caucus.
On behalf of the Grand Bassa County Legislative Caucus, Rep. Barchue filed a complaint against the Minister of Finance and his leadership for their blatant refusal to pay the county its legitimate social development funds in the amount of US$1 million.
“Mr. Speaker, in keeping with the MDA between the Government of Liberia (GOL) and ArcelorMIttal Liberia (AML), ArcelorMittal is required to pay Grand Bassa County the sum of one million United States Dollars (US$1,000,000) annually as social development funds. This amount is used for developmental projects and social services for the people of Grand Bassa County, " Rep. Barchue wrote.
“As you may be aware, due to the financial constraints of the Government of Liberia, the GOL has been unable to undertake many development projects and social services in our County. The County therefore depends on the Social Development Funds to undertake many needed developmental and social services for our people; hence the failure of the Ministry of Finance to release the funds to the County [which] has placed the entire leadership of the County in great peril.”
The Grand Bassa County legislative chairman added: “I hasten to inform you. Mr. Speaker, AML has remitted this amount to the Ministry of Finance since June of this year.
“The Grand Bassa Legislative Caucus respectfully requests Plenary to invite the Minister of Finance and his Expenditure Officials to explain to this August Body why the Ministry has failed/refused to disburse the Development Fund to our County; especially when the Budget Year is about to lapse.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Joseph N. Somwarbi of Nimba County District #3 told reporters that the appearance of the Finance Minister and expenditure officials will also afford Nimba and Bong County lawmakers the opportunity to ask about the status of their counties’ Social Development Funds.