The Senate joint committee on Public Works and Rural Development, and Ways, Means, Finance and Budget is expected to request the plenary to authorize the citation of several government institutions for public hearings, when it submits its report on a recent public hearing that involved the Minister of Public Works, William Gyude Moore.
Bong County Senator Henry Willie Yallah, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Works, told members of the joint committee that other institutions mentioned during the January hearing need to appear before his committee and make some clarifications, especially on issues of taxation.
The report from the joint committee was the only agenda item for last Thursday’s 8th day sitting, which was adjourned due to the lack of a quorum.
Minister Moore’s appearance before the Senate was prompted by a strongly worded letter from three Southeastern Senators, in which they reminded their colleagues that over the last three rainy seasons, citizens residing in rural Liberia have experienced severe and inhumane hardships as a consequence of the inaccessible roads due to their constant deplorable conditions.
Senators J. Milton Teahjay of Sinoe, H. Dan Morias of Maryland, and Albert T. Chie of Grand Kru counties in their letter also sought clarification on the whereabouts of over US$40 million reportedly collected through the “Road Fund Act” which was purposely passed into law for the maintenance of existing roads and construction of new ones.
But appearing before the Senate, Minister Moore clarified that up to the time of his appearance, his Ministry had no access to “the money coming from the road fund Act.” The money was captured in the national budget passed by the Legislature, he said, “so I do not even know how much was collected.”
Growing out of that clarification, Senator Yallah declared that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning will be invited to respond to the road fund act, while the Forestry Development Authority, Liberia Revenue Authority, and Public Works will also be requested to give a list of logging companies in the country and the various taxes they owe.