Officers and members of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and the IMF Liberia Chapter were inducted into office on Wednesday, March 21, in the presence of representatives of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Government of Liberia.
World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Dr. Henry Kerali, speaking at the occasion, said the World Bank attaches importance to partnering with stakeholders for the growth and development of Liberia, and welcomes the strengthening of the Parliamentary Network Liberia Chapter, especially after the peaceful transition of power.
He assured the Liberia Chapter that the World Bank will ensure Liberians benefit from the Bank’s support, which can be achieved through the exchange of ideas. “We want to use this occasion to call on officers and members of the Liberia Chapter to assess the implementation of World Bank-financed projects and programs and inform us on your impressions about them,” he said.
In ensuring transparency in the execution of the Bank’s projects, he urged the Parliamentarians to be proactive in the ratification of related legal documents brought to the National Legislature.
IMF Resident Representative in Liberia, Geoffrey Oestreicher challenged the Senate and House of Representatives to be better equipped to monitor and insist on transparency as the new government has pledged to be the most transparent government in Liberian history.
“You have the power and the intention, and together with like-minded government, the amount of reform and improvement you can bring to this country and to the living conditions of its people is vast,” he said.
Mr. Oestreicher added that he has been engaged with Liberia since 2009, and noted that the reform agenda of Liberia is complicated to overcome, but he challenged the Legislature to be a valuable solution as there are well-informed people monitoring the policy direction of the Executive.
Liberia Chapter of the PNO on the World Bank and IMF Chairperson, Munah E. Pelham Youngblood, elaborated on the historical background and major objectives of the Parliamentary Network. Following the establishment of the International Network of Parliamentarians from over 110-member countries in the year 2000, advocating for accountability and transparency in International Financing Agencies, the Liberia Chapter was launched on July 21, 2006, during the visit of the World Bank Group President, Paul Wolfowitz to Africa. She pointed out that the Network’s objectives include engaging lawmakers around the world in addressing good governance and poverty reduction.
Rep. Youngblood, who also chairs the House of Representatives Committee on Executive, said the Liberia Chapter would work with the World Bank and other partners, including the IMF in their search for and sharing knowledge towards capacity building of governmental institutions.
“Considering challenges in the aid delivery process and the limited capacity within Government for drawing down approved loans/credits and grants, the Liberia Chapter will engage the Bank and relevant governmental institutions to ensure that the flow of funds to Liberia and the African Region will not be interrupted by any bureaucratic principles that will cause unnecessary delays,” she said.
The Montserrado County District#9 lawmaker promised that the Liberia Chapter will engage in advocacy, oversight, research, as well as providing valuable information towards the realization of the aspect of Liberia’s development goals under the Pro-Poor agenda. Madam Youngblood said the Network will seek the support of the leadership of the Liberian Parliament to complement the work of various committees relating to Finance, Banking, Currency and Public Accounts.
She concluded by extending thanks to the World Bank and the IMF for their support to the Government of Liberia. The ceremony was attended by World Bank Liberia Country Manager Larisa Leshchenko and other members of the Liberian Legislature.
Meanwhile, fourteen Parliamentarians from the Senate and House of Representatives were inducted into office by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Prince K. Moye.
The inducted officers included: Munah E. Pelham – Youngblood, Chairperson, Senator Peter Coleman, Co-Chair for national Affairs, Edwin Melvin Snowe Jr., Co-Chair for International Affairs, Senator Yonblee Kangar Lawrence, Secretary-General, Dixon Seboe, Financial Secretary, Senator Dallas Gueh, Asst. Secretary, Thomas P. Fallah, Public Relations Coordinator, Senator Stephen Zargo, Coordinator for Monitoring and Ben Fofana, Coordinator for Evaluation. Mainma Briggs Mensah was inducted as Chaplain General whereas Senator Alphonso Gaye, Senator Edward B. Dagoseh, Senator Conmany Wesseh and Jeremiah Koug, as advisors respectively.