Authorities of the Governance Commission (GC) on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 convened a consultative forum in Monrovia, at which it launched a proposed revenue sharing formula to be used across the country once completed and enacted into law by the 54th Legislature.
The event, which brought together representatives from various ministries and agencies, as well as a few members of the legislature, was launched by Samuel Tweah, Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).
In his proposed revenue sharing formula document, Tweah said the people across the country stand to equitably benefit should the Legislature consider it a law by an appropriate legislation.
“This study cuts across two key pillars of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) to include Power to the People and Sustaining the Peace. The agenda is that people have access to their resources, and have the means to determine their social and economic livelihoods and the only way you can achieve that is if institutional structures enable them to do that,” he said.
He added, “The other pillar is about sustaining the peace. A lot of times we see peace efforts through the absence of conflict or when there is no violence. We think this means we have peace, but that is not just the case. If we dig deep down in why we go into conflict most times with each other in our lives, we get to know that it is because of inequity.”
Tweah said that lack of equitable distribution of Liberia’s resources over the years since independence has led to the many crises being experienced, and may continue to thread on the same sad note if the right frameworks are not put into place and executed in accordance with the prevailing circumstances.
“Imagine how unfair it is for a nurse working in Monrovia to receive more money in salary as well as other benefits than nurse who works in River Gee, even though the two have the same qualifications, and competence. This is unfair, but the only way to correct it is to have a good structure and an uncompromising system,” he said.
He said that the clear way to fight fragility in the country is to empower people and develop institutions that will promote equity.
“This is going to be a critical milestone. We may not have everything equally shared among the people, but it is a good practice that people live without stress or worry about how they will afford to eat or take care of their basic needs. This is why I challenge you, fellow Liberians and our foreign partners, to read this document that will help us succeed in curtailing our collective national challenges at hand,” Minister Tweah said.
He said the Swedish Government, that has invested and continues to invest in the policies leading to the reformation of the governance system of Liberia, will help our government to reestablish the agriculture development bank.
“This will allow us loan money to people involved in agricultural activities at an appreciable level, and the benefit thereof will be immense,” he said without any clarification as to when and how the reestablishment of the agriculture bank will be done.
Tweah said that the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government will reform the national fiscal budget of 2019/2020 as well as the ones ahead.
“This will give confidence to the investors, and our growth will take a positive dimension,” he said, while commending donor partners for their commitment to doing what is good for Liberia.
Senator J. Gbleh-Bo Brown, chairman on the Senate Committee for governance and reform, said the initiative is a good venture simply because, when passed into law, it will allow people in the rural areas carry out their own developments without solely relying on central government to get them done.
“This brings in local social and economic growth, because the locals will be happy if some of the revenues collected could remain in the county and be used in accordance to their own plans, Sen. Brown said.
Earlier, in his welcoming statement and overview presentation, GC Chairman, Cllr. A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, described President George Weah as someone who is committed to letting the people have access to power at all levels.
“The President is interested in seeing to it that the people have access to their own resources. The revenues they collect should therefore serve them directly to impact their lives,” Cllr. Nwabudike said.
He added: “This is not the actual formula, but a proposal for the formula. The formula itself will be enacted by the legislature, because they will decide which county gets what percentage of the revenue collected.”