Liberia: Senate Passes Two Revenue Acts

The House probe is geared toward seeking answers to the allegation that census money is misappropriation.

On their 33rd day sitting, the Liberian Senate yesterday unanimously voted to pass the “Local Government Tax and Revenue Act of 2021, amending the Liberia Revenue Code of 2011 as well as the “Revenue Sharing Law of Liberia, 2021."

Plenary took the decision after receiving a report from its Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget, chaired by Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah as well as the Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims, and Petitions Committee, chaired by Grand Cape Mount County Senator H. Varney G. Sherman, recommending passage of the Act. 

The two Acts, when passed into law, will provide an avenue for the smooth implementation of the fiscal provisions of the Local Government Act, which was printed into handbills on November 23, 2018.

The Local Government Tax and Revenue Act of 2021, which requires an amendment to the Liberia Revenue Code of 2011, will enable the central government to support its goal of sustainable decentralization and promote an independent revenue collection and retention process for local governments. 

When the Revenue Sharing Law of Liberia 2021, is passed by the House of Represenatives as well and sign on by the President to come law, it will activate Chapter 4 of the Local Government Act of 2018, which enhances local government’s calls for revenue sharing between the central and local governments as well as between local governments and sub-local government units.

According to the report, this Revenue sharing will be based on formulas to be recommended by the Local Government Fiscal Board and enacted into law by the Legislature.  The aforementioned Acts, when enacted into law, will support and facilitate the implementation of the Local Government Act of 2018, by enhancing increased citizens' participation in decision-making in governance and all aspects of service delivery.

Meanwhile, the Senate has also voted to amend the Small Arms Commission Act and establish the Liberia National Commission on Arms, but removing Tenure Status and Semi-Financial Autonomy as contained in the proposed Act submitted by President George Manneh Weah. 

The decision by the Senate to amend the Act, followed a report from the Joint Committee on Defense, Security, Intelligence & Veteran Affairs as well as Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims & Petitions, recommending an amendment of the Act creating the Small Arms Commission to provide for the Liberia National Commission on Arms. 

The Act, when passed into law, will extend the mandate and operational scope of the Commission on arms control beyond small arms and light weapons to cover all conventional arms. 

This new amendment will also require increasing the technical, administrative, and financial capacity of the Commission to take stock, monitor, and document the usage and control of small and conventional weapons within the geographical boundaries of Liberia;  and where necessary the use of Liberian weapons across the borders of Liberia during peacekeeping missions. 

Also under this new amendment, the qualification of Presidential appointees of three (3) Commissioners are to be clearly stated in the amended Act, provided that one of the appointments shall include at least a person of the opposite sex. 

When enacted into law, the Commission on Arms will now become the National Competent Authority for the regulation of all Arms including Small Arms, and a Technical Commission on Arms will be established at the Commission with representation from National Security Agencies in possession of State weapons. 

Meanwhile, River Gee County Senator Conmany B. Wesseh, a former head of the Liberian National Commission on Arms, has filed a motion for reconciliation on the decision of the Senate to remove the tenure status  and Semi-financial autonomy from the Commission.