House Passed 12 Items during Special Sitting

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House Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay says 12 out of 19 items sent to the Lower House during the month-long special sitting were passed, while five were sent back to committee rooms for some unresolved issues.

Speaker Nuquay, who briefed legislative reporters during a year-end tete-a-tete at the Capitol Building on Friday, said prominent among items passed was the Investment Incentive Agreement between Sethi Ferro Fabrik Incorporated and the Government of Liberia.

This agreement, according to the Speaker, seeks to construct a scrap recycling plant to produce steel products for Liberia and neighboring markets. It proposes to invest in excess of US$20 million during the life of the project.

However, like their Senate counterparts, Speaker Nuquay said the House of Representatives refused to pass the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) between Hummingbird Resources (Liberia) Incorporated and the Republic of Liberia until the Executive Branch of government can clarify certain clauses in the deal.

About the recent retreat between the Executive and Legislative branches in the joint Chamber of the Legislature, Speaker Nuquay said some power-point presentations were made by line ministries to highlight the financial shock the economy is experiencing and measures taken to ensure that priorities established by the country’s Agenda for Transformation (AfT) remain essentially on track.

Though the retreat was held behind closed door, Legislators were reportedly informed that the first half-year report on the economy, especially regarding the current national budget, was not encouraging; and that only US$159 million has so far been raised out of a budget of over US$600 million.

During its last day sitting last Thursday, the Senate confirmed Liberia Ambassador-designate to La Cote d’Ivoire, Madam Willye Mai King Tolbert.

Meanwhile, the Senate has concurred with the House of Representatives to pass the Tax Amendment Act of 2016, with some Senators, among them Senators George Weah, Albert Tugbe Chie, and Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, voicing disagreement that the one cent per minute charged on all calls would affect the ongoing three-day ‘free call’ promotion campaign, a scheme which they said benefits the ordinary people.

The doors to the respective Chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives have now been shut, to be reopened on the second Monday in January, to prepare for the joint session a week later. At the joint session, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will deliver her last annual address and is expected therein to outline her legislative agenda.

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