Liberia: Votes of No Confidence Await Some Heads of Joint Security

— As Senate  passes 2023 National Budget at over US$782M

The Plenary of the Senate has instructed its Secretariat to cite members of the Joint Security for next Tuesday's scheduled public hearing in the Chamber of the Senate.

The decision to include the entire joint security of the country in the ongoing hearing with the Justice Minister and the Police Inspector General was taken yesterday amidst the convergence of hundreds of women and girls dressed in black on the grounds of the Capitol Building.

The female activists carried worded placards and photos of individuals whose lives have been taken under mysterious and suspicious circumstances over the last five years without proper and convincing redress.

The women, some of whom had ascended halfway to the doors leading to the Senate Chambers, were demanding investigations, not only of the attack on the home of former Chief Justice, Gloria 

Scott and the subsequent murder of her daughter, but all other murders of both males and females whose cases deserve equal attention.

Presenting the petition of the women to a high-power delegation from the Senate and House of Representatives,  the President of the Association of Female Lawyers in Liberia, Attorney Philomena Williams, reminded the lawmakers "that injustice against one woman is injustice against all women; injustice against one child is injustice against all children.” 

“By electing you, we have agreed to empower you to represent and protect our interests in situations such as what we are going through, and this is why we have decided to come to you first."

Receiving the petition, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Rules, Order, and Administration,  Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, assured the women (and some men among them)that their action was one of the fundamentals of democracy and human rights.

The Grand Bassa County Senator added that the Senate has begun hearings on the attack on the home of the former Justice, by citing the Minister of Justice (Deputy) and Police Inspector General Colonel Patrick Sudue. 

"We want you to know that Legislature can recommend a vote of no confidence. A vote of no confidence is on the table and we will present that next Tuesday. We want you to engage your Lawmakers to ensure that a vote of no confidence for those security actors,” the Senator said.

Meanwhile, as expected,  the Senate yesterday passed the 2023 budget with a vote of 16, while Senators Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Darius Dillion, and Jonathan Boycharles Sogbie voted against it.

The Senate passed the budget yesterday at US$782. 9 million. 

According to the report from the Senate Committee on Ways, Means Finance and Budget, there was a shortfall in projected revenue collection, "in 2022 Budget forecasting, tough tax collection in this elections year 2023, 

“The Senate Ways, Means, and Budget Committee has adjusted the additional revenue collection downwards from US$16.6 million to US$5 million; therefore, a revised total revenue of US$782.9 million is proposed for the consideration of the Senate Plenary,” a  report from the Senate Committee on Ways, Means Finance and Budget noted.

The report added that there was a shortfall in projected revenue collection, in the 2022 budget year and that the government is forecasting, tough tax collection in this elections year 2023, 

The report also noted that the US$6 million for Civil Servants for the minimum wage was secured in the 2023 budget; while the health, security, and education sectors also received a rise.

The report further noted and assumed that the Senate will monitor the 2023 budget and the implementation of the various programs through its oversight responsibilities.

"Accordingly, areas to be evaluated and monitored include the domestic debt profile, portfolio and settlement,  programs in key sectors, such as revenue generation and Expenditure, and in health education and agriculture," the report continued.

Meanwhile, Sources close to the Senate Leadership have informed the Daily Observer that the House is expected to accept the Senate's adjustment outside a conference committee.