Lawmakers in ‘Emergency Session’ on Capitol Hill

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The 103 members of the 53rd Legislature are taking up another extraordinary session, beginning today, due to a request from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the House’s Press and Public Affairs Director, Isaac G. Redd, has announced.

Constitutionally the Legislature goes for annual agricultural break at the end of August or early September; but this year, they were asked by the President to stay up to October 15 for an extraordinary session.

Mr. Redd said the Lawmakers have to cut short their constituency (agricultural) break for the second time, and their return to Capitol Hill will address several proposed legislations that are relevant to the country’s economy.

Though Mr. Redd didn’t name any of the ‘several bills’ to our reporter, available information suggests some of the proposed legislations might include the ratification of four (4) Oil Blocks, proposals from the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC), as well as the Land Act, amongst others.

According to a November 9 letter addressed to House’s Speaker J. Alex Tyler and Senate President Pro Tempore Armah Z. Jallah, President Sirleaf argued that the additional stay by the Lawmakers is to conclude several bills and other matters important to keeping the economy on an even keel.

The President’s letter was written 25 days later as a ‘follow-up’ to her appeal after a decisive and secret meeting with the Legislature’s leadership on Wednesday, October 14, in the House’s First Floor Conference Room.

President Sirleaf said the ratification of the bills would rescue the country’s economy amidst the global decline in the prices of Liberia’s major export commodities (iron ore and rubber) as well as the operations of certain exploration companies.

The President indicated that in order to maintain Liberia’s macroeconomic stability, there are several measures that need to be implemented.

“We must accelerate our effort to diversify the economy by giving appropriate support to existing private sector investments, small and medium sized Liberian industries and to incentive operations that produce quick economic impact in agriculture. The continuation of our infrastructure work in power, roads and ports will play important roles if we are to succeed in our effort,” according to President Sirleaf’s letter.

“The purpose of this letter is to finalize our request for the return of the National Legislature for two weeks to consider action on the several draft acts and agreements that are required on the measures that are to be taken as indicated above,” she noted.

“Given our current financial position, coupled with the continuing increase in expenditure demands for investment in economic infrastructure, I thank you for your commitment to act positively on this request in the interest of the nation.”
The return of the 73 Representatives and 30 Senators to Capitol Hill marks the 2nd Extraordinary Session of the 4th Session of the 53rd Legislature.

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