By Leroy M. Sonpon, lll
The House of Representatives, on the 1st day sitting of the Extraordinary Sitting — Tuesday, December 3, has voted unanimously to ‘act upon’ the 17 Priority Bills from President George M. Weah on Thursday, December 5, 2019.
The lawmakers’ action to vote on the President’s priority bills indicate formal acceptance of the House of Representatives to reconvene for the extraordinary sitting, although there are speculations that the lawmakers, on their own accord, might also extend for additional seven days.
The President’s communication to House’s Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers, dated November 27, 2019, was attached with a matrix of 17 priority bills.
The communication said: “There are pressing issues of national concern which require deliberations of the Legislature on actions that will appropriately address those issues.
These include, inter alia, passage of financial and other instruments pending before the Legislature, confirmation hearings, especially of the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia; finalization of deliberation on authorization to the CBL to print a new set of Liberian Dollar banknotes; and considerations of economic nature.”
Montserrado County District #16 Representative Dixon Seboe proffered the motion for lawmakers to vote on the President’s priority bills on Thursday.
“Each of the bills should be sent to the relevant or appropriate committees and others to be forwarded to ad hoc committees for the passage on Thursday,” Rep. Seboe said.
The motion was amended by Grand Gedeh County District #3 Representative Alex Grant and Lofa County District #5 Representative Francis Nyumalin.
Rep. Grant said the Priority Bills should be distributed among the lawmakers and Rep. Nyumalin added that the motion should include that some of the Priority Bills were approved by House of Representatives and sent to the Senate for concurrence.
A proposal for amendment from River Gee County District #3 Representative Francis Dopoh was denied when he said the 17 priority bills should be deciphered to fit national emergency.
17 Prioritized Bills
The 17 Prioritized Bills include: An Act to Amend and Restate “An Act to Authorize the Establishment of the Central Bank of Liberia; An Act to Establish the Liberia Standard Authority; An Act to Establish the Civil Service Commission; The Agreement between the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of the Republic of Liberia for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income; Loan Agreement – Upgrading of the Konia – Voinjama Road Project between the Republic of Liberia and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development; the National Youth Policy of Liberia, an Agenda for Action; An Act to Amend Part III, Section 15.2(a) of An Act to Repeal the Act incorporating the Liberian National Lotteries Corporation of 1993 and to enact in Lieu Thereof the National Lottery Authority Act to conduct, manage, regulate and supervise National Lotteries, Lotto and Games of Chance; An Act to Amend the Revenue Code of Liberia, Phase one of the Reform Tax Code of Liberia 2000, as amended by the Consolidated Tax Amendments Act of 2011 to adopt a Modernized Customs Code (2017); and An Act Prohibiting Tenure of Public Officials within the Executive Branch of Government.
Others are the Revised and Restated Charter of the University of Liberia; Act to Amend Title 25, Patriotic Cultural Observance Law, Chapter 3, Recognition of Distinguished Service, by adding thereto a new Subsection 64 to be known as the “The Order of the Republic”; The President Transition Act, 2017; The Whistle Blower and Witness Protection Bill; The International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework Agreement; Amendment and Restatement of the Public Financial Management Act of 2009; the Bill to Amend Section 6.1(5) of the Aliens and Nationality Law of Liberia, Title 4, Liberian code of Laws Revised, regarding Permits of Residence; and Investment Incentive Contract between the Government of Liberia and Monrovia Milling Corporation.