‘Austerity Measure’ Suffers Lawmakers   

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Minister of State for Presidential Affiars, Nathaniel McGill

…One of them says five months, no pay

Contrary to claims by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill, that the government only owed one month salary in arrears to its employees, including the lawmakers, Nimba County District #2 Representative, Prince Tokah, said that government has not paid members of the 54th Legislature for “four to five months,” thereby making the lawmakers vulnerable to public ridicule.

McGill told the Voice of America African Service recently that the government will pay the arrears by the end of February 2020 with the help of international partners.

But in sharp reaction, Rep. Tokpah said it was unnecessary for lawmakers to extend the emergency session, which President George Weah has called for seven days to discuss the current economic challenges, “because the Executive feels we would have by then finished the work as contained in the special session in one week.”

Tokpa’s statement came shortly after a communication from Samuel G. Kogar, Nimba County District #5 Representative, requested the august body to extend its emergency session for another week to enable the lawmakers discuss issues of national concern with their respective constituencies.

In that regard, Rep. Tokpah said that lawmakers have not been paid for the past four to five months, and therefore, it was time for the lawmakers to return to their various farms to put food on the their family’s table, rather than coming to session to discuss “nothing but trash.”

“For me, I will not accept an extension of the session,” Rep. Tokpah said, noting, “It is because I have to go back on my farm to get my family going. I cannot sit here, and do the executive’s job, while Christmas and New Year are just around the corner; and that people are dying of common diseases, because there is no food, and money to buy medication to improve our own children’s lives.”

Francis S. Dopoh, River Gee Country District #3 Representative, like many of his colleagues, said that the one-week extension was necessary, “provided if the legislature can discuss the current economic challenges and make the necessary recommendations.”

Rep. Dopoh said if the legislature closed session today, Tuesday, some of the lawmakers will not address the reason why President Weah called for the emergency session, because the economy  will never improve with the presence of Samuel Tweah as Minister of Finance and Development Planning, who have totally violated the public finance law of the country.

He said that Minister Tweah needs to appear before the House of Representatives to address the current economic woes.

Dopoh argued that Mr. Tweah has failed to present the 2018/2019, annual report, and the first quarter to the legislature up to present as of December 9.

He said that Mr. Tweah has also refused to present to the legislature government’s financial consolidated statement that has caused the first branch of government not to know how many dollars in the country’s account.

“When the president took over, he told us that the country was broke; we need to know the current status of the country economically; and how many dollars in our account,” Dopoh said.

Meanwhile, a source at the legislature informed the Daily Observer that the government “has paid a good number of the lawmakers” for the month of July, while others are yet to be paid.

The body mandated Rep. Kogar to write a resolution, according to article 32 (b) of the Liberian Constitution and have the signature of one-fourth members before they can accept any extension of the session.

Article 32 (b) provides that the President shall, on his initiative or upon the receipt of a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each house, and by proclamation, extend a regular session of the legislature beyond the date for adjournment or call for a special or extraordinary session of that body to discuss, or act upon matters of national emergency and concern.

8 COMMENTS

  1. And you guys are sitting on your buttocks doing nothing? Why were you guys voted in both houses? To make laws for the people and speak on their behalf or to fill your bellies? You have been working 5 to 6 months without pay and yet you remain silent? Then who will speak out for the weak and poor? What sort of buffoonery is this?

  2. Because of the fact that the lawmakers of Liberia have been raking in $175,000 to $192,000 per year, there’s no money left in the country. You tell some arrogant Liberian people that $15,000 to $16,000 shouldn’t be paid to a Liberian lawmaker because of our country’s economic woes, and sadly what you hear is balderdash. To suggest that there should be a pay cut for the lawmakers does not mean that the lawmakers of Liberia are subhumans. Not at all! It’s not my style to use negative adjectives. I will continue to refrain from the use of profanities. I do believe that some Liberians are so arrogant that they prefer to tell us what to do. In other words, some Liberian a have all the answers, no one else.

    Peace

  3. Oh God, please don’t send Liberia back to war days, leave Liberians to suffer for the seek of the faithful few, innocent children, and for your name seek Jesus.
    Please Lord. Thank you for answering my prayer Amen.
    Amen

  4. Kae

    We went back to the war era right after Weah took the presidential oath of office, and a little introspection may throw some light on what I mean about this statement.

    The reasons many of us do not want to fathom the dangers the country is facing now are because we, as Liberians, are polarized and divided into our various tribal camps or political groups to the extent we cannot come together to fight collectively against the common enemy. We behave this way even if our tribal associations or political affiliations do not benefit us individually; moreover, our vision or our perception of the meaning of nationhood is impaired.

    For example: when Weah told the citizenry during the maiden voyage of this stinging economic depression he was injecting some US $25 billion into the economy to revive it but to find out his words were just simple acts of deception, that was a declaration of war on our poor folks.

    When he could not account for the missing LD $15 billion, but yet he is accumulating obscene wealth and erecting palaces all over Monrovia and its environs, while the misapplication or misappropriation of such vast amounts from the nation’s treasury is creating a very ugly situation where the average citizens are no longer able to provide the basic needs of life to sustain themselves, that was another declaration of war.

    What else needs to happen to tell us the president of the nation has declared a socio-economic and socio-political war against the nation? As the result of the continuous heartless greed, the country is back in the same old struggle!

  5. If law makers have not taking for 4 to 5 months and kept silent to please the president then I think they will continue to please the president until the country perish. Why will anybody say it is a good idea to extend session to another week? What are they discussing in sessions for so long?

  6. Dumayal December 10, 2019 At 9:00 pm

    If the law makers have not taking pay for 4 to 5 months and they kept silent about the economics crisis to please the president then they will continue to please the president until the country perish. Why will anybody say it is a good idea to extend session to another week? What are they discussing in sessions for so long?

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