The House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature has for the first time since it was inaugurated on January 15, 2019, made for itself a surprisingly new record in the passage of legislations in a single day sitting.
During its 32nd day sitting on Thursday, May 23, 2019, the House passed four bills, including road project, concessions agreements and investments incentives.
Loan Agreement Upgrading of the Konia-Voinjama Road Project
The Koniaa-Voinjama road, a corridor road ‘A 13’ is about 64km long. The project entails upgrading the existing dirt and gravel road to an asphaltic two-lane two-way road, 7.5 meter wide with 1.5 meter shoulders on each side to include drainage drudgery, designed to appropriate standards.
The loan deal for the upgrading of the Konia-Voinjama roads were entered by and between Liberia and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. The Liberian government has also obtained or intends to obtain from the Saudi Fund for Development additional loan to assist in the financing of the project as well has expressed intent to obtain from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) to assist in the financing of the project on terms and conditions set forth in agreement between it and OFID. Both loans from the Saudi Fund and OFID are referred to collectively as “External Loans.”
The loans amount to US$35 million or an equivalent of Kuwati Dinars 6 million (KD 6 million).
Firestone Concession Agreement
The 2008 Concession Agreement amended set forth herein noted the request of Firestone-Liberia that certain amendments be made to the 2008 Concession Agreement owing to the fact that Firestone-Liberia’s rubber production remains less that 30% of pre-1990 production level due to the inability to replant during the Liberia civil conflict, and damage to rubber trees during that time, and will only gradually return to full production as replanted trees reached maturity.
Accordingly, the 2018 amendment effective date to the 2008 concession agreement, shall become effective and binding on the parties, which shall be the first month of the day on which this 2018 amendment is published in handbills; attested and signed by the government representatives, approved by the President, ratified and enacted by the legislature and signed into law by the President.
Financing Agrreement (Treecrops Extension Project II)
The objective of the financing agreement for treecrops is to increase and improve the livelihoods of ‘poor small holder cocoa producers’ and their households or family units. It specifically targeted communities in Lofa County and other counties, based on studies conducted in 15,000 households that have been identified from these communities to benefit from the project. Of the amount, 10,000 households will be cocoa ‘smallholder’ farmers, while the remaining 5,000 rural households will benefit from improved roads, farm input supplies, market linkages and spillover effects along the value chain.
The total value of the treecrop financing agreement is placed at US$23,826,000, and is stipulated into two categories; US$11,913,000 for loan and US$11,913,000 for grant.
Golden SIFCA Deal
The Golden SIFCA deal ratifying the investment incentive between the government and Golden SIFCA was ratified.
The incentive investment deal was approved by the Senate on Tuesday, May 21, and forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence of which was ratified on Thursday, May 23, 2019.
Montserrado County District #4 Representative Rustonlyn Dennis, voted against the passage of the bill, arguing that the details of the Incentive Investment, including the cost and value are unknown.
The three-page document forwarded to members of the House, which was concurred by the Senate, does not have much information to include the number of years, and the benefits to the country’s economy.
The Daily Observer has gathered that the four bills passed on Thursday has summed the bills to 11 in 2019, which marked the 2nd session, and its expected before September, the total numbers of bill would increase to 25.
It can be recalled that during the 1st session in 2018, only 15 bills were passed comprising the duration of 57 regular and six special days sittings, respectively.