House Votes to X-Ray All Tax Incentive, Concession Agreements

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Lawmakers in their voting session.

-Inducts 73rd member

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, voted to authorize a “Specialized Committee” as part of their oversight responsibility to scrutinize (review) all Tax Incentive and Concession Agreements, which were signed by the government (Executive) and ratified by the legislature in an effort to revive the economy.

Lofa County District #3 Representative Clarence K. Massaquoi has been appointed as the chairman of the Specialized X-ray Committee, with Montserrado County District #8 Representative Acarous M. Gray as Co-chair.

Members include Bomi County District #1 Representative Edwin M. Snowe, Montserrado County District #5 Representative Thomas Fallah, Lofa County District #2 Representative Julie Wiah, Montserrado County District #9 Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood, River Cess County District #1 Representative Rosanna Schaak; Montserrado County District #4 Representative Rustonlyn Dennis and  Bong County District #5 Representative.

Others are Bong County District #5 Representative Edward Karfiah, Nimba County District #5 Representative Samuel Kogar, Grand Gedeh County District #1 Representative Zoe Pennoh, Montserrado County District #11 Representative Richard Koon; Margibi County District #2 Representative Tibelrosa Tanpoweh, Sinoe County District #3 Representative Matthew Zaza, Montserrado County District #16 Representative Dixon Seibo, and Gbarpolu County District #2 Representative Kane Wesso, a lawyer by profession.

House Speaker Bhofal Chambers made the appointments on Tuesday, January 15, during the 2nd day sitting of the 2nd Session as a result of a motion proffered by Rep. Karfiah, following a communication from Lofa County District #3 Representative Clarence K. Massaquoi.

“Honorable Speaker and colleagues, it is an open knowledge that our current economy status as a country is being challenged, and the selfless input of all stakeholders to revive it and rekindle the hope of our people. Areas I believed should be looked at include the concessions and investment incentives that are currently in place. You will agree with me, Honorable Speaker and colleagues, that the implementation of these instruments has a significant impact on the viability of the economy,” Rep. Massaquoi wrote.

Fifty one Representatives voted in favor of the motion for a Specialized Committee to X-ray all investment incentives and concessions, while Representative Larry Younquoi of Nimba County #8 voted against the motion. Younquoi argued that the House of Representatives should have written the Executive about the X-ray in order to provide technical support.

The Committee is expected to work within six weeks (one and a half months) so as to provide a comprehensive report to the plenary.

Some of the concessions, which will be X-rayed by the House of Representatives, include Firestone-Liberia, ArcelorMittal, Golden Veroleum Liberia, Sime Darby, among others, as well as Lonestar Cell MTN, Orange Liberia ( formerly Cellcom) and other businesses which are enjoying investment incentives.

In a related development, Montserrado County District #13 Representative Edward Papay Flomo has been formally inducted as member of the House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature.

His induction was in keeping with Rule 11.1 of the House’s Rules and Procedures to complete the membership to 73.

House Speaker Chambers administers oath, inducting Rep. Flomo as lawmaker of the 54th Legislature.

Rule 11.1 of the House’s Rules and Procedures states: “Each member of the House of Representatives before taking his/her seat, shall take an oath or affirmation to uphold and defend the Constitution and the laws of the country as well as to faithfully discharge the duties and functions of the office as a member of the House of Representatives.”

Rep. Flomo replaced Senator Saah Hardy Joseph, who was elected as Senator for Montserrado County. Sen. Joseph replaced Senator George Weah, who was earlier elected as Liberia’s 24th President in 2017.

Flomo’s induction followed a communication to Chief Clerk Mildred Sayon from the National Election Commission (NEC) under the signature of Chairman Cllr. James Korkoya.

Montserrado County Legislative Chairman Caucus Representative Thomas Fallah on behalf of his colleagues, thanked Rep. Flomo for his election.

“We want to use this opportunity as commanded by Speaker Chambers to formally welcome you as an honorable member of the House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature,” Rep. Fallah said.

In response, Rep. Flomo called on his colleagues to be effective in their legislative duties, most especially in tackling the bad economy that include the surging rate of the US dollar against the Liberian currency.

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