Gov’t Out of Touch with Rural Dwellers

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Liberians in rural parts of the country are not feeling the impact of national government, House Speaker, J. Alex Tyler, has disclosed.

At a news conference Wednesday, December 4, in Monrovia, Speaker Tyler admitted that rural dwellers are yet to experience the workings of their government in the last eight years of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led administration.

He maintained that it was disappointing to experience first-hand, “budgetary allotment to the counties are not being used wisely.”

Speaker Tyler and his colleagues, who have just arrived from a nationwide consultation in the counties, indicated that rural Liberians are not experiencing a trickle-down effect of government revenue, thereby feeling completely disconnected from central government.

“We saw for ourselves the challenges and difficulties faced by the people in the rural areas. It’s clear that budgetary allotments for the counties are not being properly managed and we need to take some steps in addressing that,” the Bomi County lawmaker asserted.

While it’s true that the Legislature makes the appropriation and the Executive executes, cardinal amongst the three functions of lawmakers is ‘oversight’.

Speaker Tyler, however, admitted that the Legislature had not been effective in their oversight responsibilities. “We need to step-up our oversight duty,” the House Speaker, who is an integral part of the ruling Unity Party, added.

According to him, the nationwide trip afforded lawmakers the opportunity to understand the plights of ordinary Liberians in order to better address these issues in the near future. He announced that this situation allows the House of Representatives to be “robust in exercising our legislative function.”

Interestingly, this is the Speaker’s second pronouncement of the House being ‘robust in performing her duties,’ but with few to see any results from the first branch of government.

During the opening of the Legislature last sitting, Speaker Tyler announced for the first time; “The Legislature will be more robust in this sitting than ever.”

It’s important to note that the House’s ‘robust action’ led to the controversial detention of two executive appointees, former Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Kpann, and Sinoe County Superintendent Milton Teahjay.

“If that is being robust,” political commentators intoned, “then the House should have been robust on the passage of several bills including Decent Work, and the Code of Conduct draft legislations that are in the interest of the people, but have spent many years collecting dust in the corridors of the Capitol Building.”

Relative to the nationwide Draft Oil Law Consultation, Speaker Tyler described the event as successful. He noted that the consultation reached 15 counties and is expected to be completed in Montserrado shortly.

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