President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will deliver her final annual message on Monday, January 23, to the members of the 53rd Legislature in a joint Session at the William R. Tolbert Jr. Assembly Hall in the Capitol Building.
President Sirleaf’s appearance before the Lawmakers is in adherence to Article 58 of the Liberian Constitution which among other things mandates the Chief Executive to present her legislative agendas (programs), and inform the Legislature on the current state of affairs.
Article 58 of the Constitution states: ‘The President shall, on the fourth working Monday in January of each year, present the administration’s legislative program for the ensuing session, and shall once a year report to the Legislature on the state of the Republic. In presenting the economic condition of the
Republic the report shall cover expenditure as well as income.’
Next Monday’s State of the Nation Address will mark the 12th and the last annual message of Madam Sirleaf to the joint session of the Legislature, since her ascendency to the Presidency on January 16, 2006.
The Joint Session of the 53rd Legislature will be presided over by Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay of the House of Representative and the co-presiding officer will be Vice President Joseph N. Boakai the President of the Senate.
Customarily, the special joint session is called to order at about 3:55pm, and a motion to receive the President to deliver the Final Annual Message will be made and seconded, at which time the Chairmen (or Chairpersons) of the Executive Committees and Sergeants-at-arms from both Houses will escort the President from the entry of the Capitol Building to the Joint Chambers, on the 3rd floor.
General Martin Johnson, Sergeant-at-arms of the House of Representatives will announce the presence of Madam President in the Joint Chambers and the President’s message is at 4:00PM.
The President, without sitting, will stand for at least three hours to deliver the Nation’s Address to the Lawmakers and, immediately afterwards, proceed to the rotunda of the Capitol Building, for a reception.
In presenting her legislative agenda, President Sirleaf is also expected to address a wide range of issues on the current state of the economic and security.
According to the House Chief Clerk, Madam Mildred Sayon, the ceremony begins at 2:00 PM with the arrival of invited guests.
This national convocation brings together the officials from the three branches, doyen and members of the diplomatic corps, chiefs and elders, political, religious and business leaders.
Last year, President Sirleaf informed the lawmakers about the ailing state of the economy influenced largely by factors, including the quick decline in the country’s traditional exports of rubber and iron ore.
The economy continued to experience suppressed growth owing not only to falling prices of prime export commodities and the effects of the Ebola Virus outbreak but also to the ongoing drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) which mainly affected the service sector. Consequently, the
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth declined further to 0.3 percent in 2015 compared to the original forecast of 6.8 percent, the President told the lawmakers during her Annual Message Last year.
Meanwhile, the President’s ‘final annual address’ will be given against the backdrop of a massive, US$600,000 renovation ongoing at the Capitol Building.
Ministry of Public Works and the General Services Agency (GSA) in collaboration with the Maintenance Departments of the House and the Senate are doing the renovation work.