Poverty Reduction Law Ratified

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Representatives voting for the passage of the Financing Agreement Bill

By Leroy M. Sonpon III

A Financing Agreement Law to improve the country’s economy and social conditions was yesterday ratified by the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives.

The law also aims to help the government realize its objectives in the implementation of the Economic Stabilization Recovery Plan that was adopted after the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak and the mitigation of the fiscal gap for 2017/2018.

Both Houses – the Upper and Lower – approved the bill, entitled, “the Financing Agreement for the Third Poverty Reduction Support Development Policy Operation (PRSDPOIII).”

A few minutes to the ratification of the bill by the Legislature yesterday, the Financing Agreement was reached between Liberia and the International Development Association (IDA). Finance Minister Boima S. Kamara affixed his signature for the Government while country manager Larisa Leshehenko signed for the IDA. According to the agreement, the “grant and credit” is in the amount of 4,800,000 and 4,100,000 Special Drawing Rights respectively, totaling 8,900,000 Special Drawing Rights. The equivalent in US dollars is about US$12 million.

During Tuesday’s sessions, both Houses postponed their Rules and Procedures, which compelled the bill to be read for at least three times before ratification.
In the Senate, Grand Kru County Senator Albert Chie raised the motion for ratification, while the motion for reconsideration from Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay was tested but failed.

In the House of Representatives, Bong County District #2 Representative Prince Moye proffered the motion for reconsideration from Montserrado County District #8 Representative Acarous M. Gray. It was also tested but denied.

The maximum commitment rate payable will be one-half of one percent per annum; the payment currency is the US dollars, and payment dates are October 1 and April 1 each year.

The draft law, which originated from the Executive, was passed following a heated debate between lawmakers.

In a letter to House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay and Senate President Pro Tempore Armah Jallah, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote: “The Financing Agreement when ratified into law will enable the government to achieve these objectives and improve the economic condition that will help to alleviate poverty and make our citizens self- sufficient.”

6 COMMENTS

  1. Look Dave, the reporter said nothing to educate the readers. Nothing is said about this agreement; at least a brief background.

    However, both lower and upper houses are just stooges to the executive. It is all, to me, about collecting what can be had before the expiration of this administration- frivolous executive order, retirement tax breaks, bogus investment, shady road contracts, etc.. Without Ellen nothing good will happen therefore, everything must happen before she leaves office-what a joke!!

    There is no serious thinker with integrity. Bunch of “give me, I give you” without remorse.

  2. The loudly proclaimed Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) the mantra of this government has abjectly failed. What we have seen instead is the creation of virtual poverty traps from with no means of escape. If for example GOL had invested in locally made furniture for public schools using local Liberian businesses, jobs would have been created, real income would have been generated, learning conditions in public schools would have been enhanced and productivity in the economy stimulated.

    But no, rather than produce timber products, locally, GOL is still allowing the export of round logs with no thought of adding value which would undoubtedly result in increased revenue from exports of processed timber. Former Finance miniser Amara Konneh had boasted that GOL would have bought the bulk of its furniture requirements from local producers of timber products but all such big talk amounted to noting of course.
    What would Liberia thus stand to benefit from a grant credit called the “Financing Agreement for the Third Poverty Reduction Support Development Policy Operation (PRSDPOIII)”. But why the hasty passage of such a bill when this Government is already on its way out with only six months left in office? And the speed with which the Bill was passed before he Legislature raises questions in the public of whether brown envelopes (Common Law Practice) were offered in exchange for its passage, especially when other equally or more important ones like the Thresh-hold bill have been lingering at the Legislature since it was proposed in 2011.

    What we are now witnessing is a last minute “Chopping” rush. In football speak of my day, we called it Carpenter shop, you miss the ball don’t miss the bone meaning the “Crazy” (shin) bone. Anything goes except perhaps the right things. The incoming government will certainly find itself bogged down with a huge debt burden (never mind the debt waiver) some of which were incurred only months before the end of its predecessor’s tenure. What a sad spectre!

  3. Thanks Mr. John H. T. Stewart for a backgrounder which puts this other wheeling dealing rush – rush in context.

    Our Harvard economist, supposedly a much – needed philosopher king in 2005, micromanaged a dozen years into failure, and won’t rest until she condemns her successor’s to the same fate. But there is a silver lining to her eleventh hour chopping scramble. She knows that there would be serious consequences should she try to influence NEC continue her misrule under a Brumskine presidency.

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