A lawmaker has raised an alarm about what he describes as “the poor performance of government ministries and agencies in almost all parts of the country” igniting serious concern on Capitol Hill and forcing the House to act.
In a letter to plenary, Representative Numene T. H. Baetekwa (Grand Kru) criticized the performance of certain government ministers and other officials particularly regarding projects earmarked for implementation in accordance with the national budget.
Rep. Baetekwa made specific reference to the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare, Education and Public Works saying that “despite the huge budget support we have been giving them, their impact in our various counties is very, very limited.”
He however blamed their poor performance on lawmakers’ inability to effectively carry out their oversight responsibilities in monitoring and evaluating the activities of these institutions.
Program budgets for each of these ministries should be made county-specific in order for the public and lawmakers to know how to track the respective performances in relation to the budget, said Rep. Baetekwa.
“We have not been holding them accountable to specific indicators in each of the counties and we therefore lack a way to assess their performances. Instead, their respective program budgets are left to their discretion for implementation, giving them the option to decide what to do in a county,” Baetekwa observed.
“Equitable distribution of the national cake” through budgetary allotment is a key reason for the Grand Kru County representative’s concern.
House Speaker J. Alex Tyler later entertained Nimba County Representative Samuel Korgar’s motion to let the House’s Ways, Means, and Finance Committee take charge of the matter and later brief plenary.
Political commentators described this concern by lawmakers over implementation of projects according to budgetary requirements as a “positive sign for national development” but are skeptical that the alarm will get the desired results.
According to them, several issues like the dismissed Health and General Auditing Commission (GAC) employees and many other allegations of corruption involving officials of government in all three branches of government, have not been addressed and resolved. As such, they reasoned, “raising alarm about cardinal issues with limited political will to resolve them is of no interest to ordinary Liberians.”