Sirleaf Undermines Small, Efficient Gov’t Policy?

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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia_web.jpg

President Johnson Sirleaf announced proposed legislation aimed at creating new autonomous agencies within government—a move many described as “undermining her previous statement of small and efficient government during her administration.”

In 2006, the President pronounced that some government entities will be dissolved or merge in order to create a “small and effective government.”

However, in her Annual Message addressed to the National Legislature on Monday, January 27, 2014 the Liberian leader again told lawmakers to expect a bill establishing the Liberia National Tourism Authority removing said component from the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT).

The intent is to effectively promote and expose Liberia’s tourism sector to the rest of the world.

Tourism remains one of the fastest sources of economic productivities in countries like The Gambia, South Africa, and Kenya among others; and as such, President Sirleaf wants her government to sell Liberia to the outside world.

Creating a Tourism Authority other than what it is now a bureau under MICAT means that government is ready to shoulder another expenditure responsibility of personnel, salaries, fuel and lubricants—a system President Sirleaf announced measures to cut public spending because it is seriously taking half of Liberia’s project-based budget.

Legislative commentators believed that such a move by the President questioned the idea of small government she claimed to have established. “What has happened to previous autonomous agencies created including the Land Commission, National Bureau of Concession (NBC) and the Law Reform Commission (LRC) which have huge staffs and operational budget under the national envelop,” our commentator argued.

President Sirleaf used the occasion to announce other proposed legislations including, Multiple Bills relating to ratification of several treaties, conventions and protocols Government has signed with the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Africa Regional Property Organization (AFRIPO) to protect the literary and artistic works of musicians, motion picture producers, writers and inventor. According to the Liberian Head of State, such legislation will provide economic empowerment for struggling artists in Liberia whose intellectual materials are being tampered with.

“A new Local Government Act in harmony with national policies designed to more efficiently render services in a decentralized manner; an amendment to the Public Health Law to add a new Chapter on Mental Health; an amendment to the Civil Procedure Law on Special Proceedings Concerning Mentally Disabled and Legally Incompetent persons to be titled the “Mental Health Procedural Act,” Madam Sirleaf indicated. A new law for regulating insurance to be titled the Insurance Act (2014); A Bill to ratify the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances; were legislative instruments proposed by President Sirleaf for the ensuing year.  

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