The Director of the Legislative Information Services (LIS), McCarthy Weh, has renewed his appeal to House Speaker Alex Tyler to obtain the release of the balance US$33,000 of USHR fund donated to rehabilitate the joint services department of the Legislature.
The information department with dilapidated spaces were renovated and equipped with funding provided by the United States House of Representatives (USHR) through USAID. It provides research, archives and library services to members and staff of the Legislature.
The US assistance in the establishment of the LIS was provided under the Legislative Modernization program and it has since continued to assist lawmakers in their task of informed decision making, according to Director Weh.
In his letter to Speaker Tyler, Director Weh reminded him of the appropriation of US$100K in the 2014/2015 National Budget, stating that the amount which was received by the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, was used in part to pay for renovation work and to purchase a vehicle.
Mr. Weh told this newspaper that the balance of the amount to the tone of U$33,000 is yet to be accounted for.
“The department has not been effective in the last three years due to the late payment of the renovation fund by the House of Representatives following the 2013 fire incident,” he said.
The LIS Director asserted that availability of the fund will have the research, archives and library spaces fully refurbished with internet connectivity, digitization of the Legislative archives, DStv and local newspaper subscriptions paid, fueling and servicing of a 39KVA standby generator for effective service delivery.
Meanwhile, Director Weh has underscored the need for the Legislature to introduce Administration and Management in the pending 2016/2017 National Budget. “This system ensures that budgetary support for departments are detached from the Senators and Representatives’ appropriations/allotments,” he said.
Weh maintained that the system as it is being requested will have departmental support captured in the National Budget under the offices of the Secretary of the Senate and Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives.
“Administration and Management,” according to Director Weh,”will address the critical concerns of staff development, confronting the Legislature and enhance professionalism at the first branch of government.”
It may be recalled that Administration and Management was one of the12-count reform measures proposed by the LIS Director in 2015 to the leadership committees of the House and Senate through the offices of the Speaker and President Pro Tempore.