A bill seeking the creation of Zeyeama District in Lofa County, which will include 20 towns and villages, has been vetoed (rejected) by President George Weah, because of budget constraints due to the country’s bad economy and the lack of ample foreign support and investment.
The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate under the House’s Engrossed Bill #18, and sent to the President for approval on December 10, 2018.
This is the first bill President Weah has vetoed in its entirety since becoming head of state on January 22, 2018.
On Thursday, July 5, 2018, the President partially vetoed the ratified Concession Mineral Development Agreement between the government and Hummingbird-Liberia Incorporated.
In his letter to members of the House of Representatives on Lofa County’s Zeyeama District Bill, the President, expressed the belief that there should be matching financial resources when districts are created to pay workers, who will provide services.
He added that the creation of a new district also meant the resources for service delivery will be diverted, and the resources of the parent district will be split and shared out with the newly created district.
The President’s veto letter was read on Tuesday, January 15, during the 2nd day sitting of the 2nd session of the House of Representatives.
“Mr. Speaker, as you know, Article 35 of the Constitution of Liberia gives the President the authority to approve or not approve bills laid before the President,” Weah’s letter to the lawmakers said.
“By virtue of the authority in me vested, under Article 35 of the country’s Constitution, I cannot approve this bill, and hereby veto the bill in its entirety given the issues as outlined above. However, I look forward to working with the Legislature on the issue to derive at an efficient and effective processes for district creation,” President Weah said.
In his letter also, the President informed the lawmakers that he approved the Local Government Act submitted by the 54th Legislature, and is currently being assessed for implementation, taking into considering implications that it brings to the already constrained budget.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives voted to send the President’s vetoed letter to the Joint Committee on Judiciary and Executive with the Judiciary being the lead Committee to review and report to the august body on Thursday, January 17, 2019.