State of Economy Debate Deferred Again

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1976
The debate was deferred this time due to the absence of the heads of the committees on Banking and Currency, Sen. A. Marshall Dennis (above); and Judiciary, Claims and Petitions, Sen. Varney G. Sherman.

For the fifth time in a month, the Senate yesterday failed to hold a debate on a report from its joint committee on the state of the economy.

The plenary voted eight in favor of deferment, while five voted for a debate, with one abstention. Notable among those in support of the debate were Senators Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Jonathan Kaipay, George Weah, Bleh-Bo Brown, and George Tengbeh.

Supporters in favor of another postponement included Senators Sando Johnson, Daniel Naatehn, Henry Yallah, and Jim Tornolah.

The debate is now scheduled for Thursday, March 23.

Meanwhile Senator Sando Johnson, in his motion, cited the absence of the heads of the committees on Banking and Currency, Sen. A. Marshall Dennis; and Judiciary, Claims and Petitions, Sen. Varney G. Sherman.

The report was prepared through the mandate of the plenary by the Joint Committee of the Senate that includes Banking and Currency, Ways, Means, Finance and Budget, Commerce, Trade and Industry, as well as Judiciary, Claims and Petitions, as a result of a communication from Senators Morris Saytumah, Lawrence, and Armah Zolu Jallah.

In their February 14 letter, the Senators among many other things, recommended a 25 percent reduction in benefits of the President, Vice President, Speaker, President Pro Tempore, Chief Justice, Associate Justices, Legislators, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Assistant Ministers, Heads of Public Corporations, Directors and Commissioners. The benefits include gas slips, scratch cards and travel allowances, stressing the need to commission a study to cut unnecessary expenditure within the government.

In its February 27 report, the committee informed plenary of its intention to invite several stakeholders to a meeting on Wednesday, March 1, and therefore requested an additional week.

Since the expiration of that week, and subsequent submissions of the report, the Senate has on several occasions failed to start the debate on recommendations contained in the committee’s report.

Grand Bassa County Senator and one of the authors of the letter on the state of the economy, Senator Lawrence, has openly stated her disappointment in the report, and has vowed to request the Pro Tempore to ask the Senate plenary to constitute itself into a committee, and invite economic stakeholders to a new open hearing.

The prolonged delay to debate the report has started to baffle some members of the Senate, and speculations are fast developing as to what is going on, such as if there is an outside influence coming into play.

Meanwhile, some economists who confided in this newspaper yesterday disclosed that an estimated amount of US$75,000 may be realized monthly from the 25 percent cut in the benefits of Senators, which will amount to an estimated US$900,000 annually.

“The House of Representatives may even realize around US$10 million annually from such an initiative,” another source hinted to this newspaper.

2 COMMENTS

  1. A philosopher once said, “Leadership involves remembering past mistakes, an analysis of today’s achievements, and a well-grounded imagination in visualizing the problem of the future.”

    Do our lawmakers have these qualities of leadership? They have been in power so long by virtue of our revised 1986 Constitution. Their prolong stay in power has made them too complacent and arrogant; they believe that being in power is a form of entitlement. They can increase their salaries far beyond the cost of living in an undeveloped country like Liberia whenever they want to; they can accept unwarranted perks whenever they want to; they can travel around the globe for medical treatment whenever they want to.

    Election time is fast approaching! All of the sudden, our self-enriched lawmakers are becoming sanctimonious (holy). There is an epiphany going on at the Capitol Hill in Monrovia. Our Lawmakers just realize that Liberia’s economy is in shamble. At this last hour, they want to resuscitate our failing economy by reducing their salaries and unwarranted perks (gas slips, scratch cards and travel allowances). Where they asleep for the past eleven years? Where they asleep for the past nine years? Where they asleep in Liberia for the past six years as “THINGS FALL APART”? Chinua Achebe said.

    If our Lawmakers are not responsible in controlling spending and following economic forecast, they need an independent, non-partisan budget office like the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) of the Unites States. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Budget_Office
    The goal of this independent agency is to give analyses and economic forecast to help congress make sound budgetary decisions.

    I don’t think reducing salaries, although necessary to help build schools and medical clinics in rural areas, is the right solution to Liberia’s economic problem. The Liberian people are just too smart for such political gamesmanship by our Lawmakers. This is not Leadership!!!!!!!!

    • Correction to typo: Were they asleep for the past eleven years? Were they asleep for the past nine years? Were they asleep in Liberia for the past six years as “THINGS FALL APART”? Chinua Achebe said.

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