Senate Invites NEC, NIR Over US$91.9M for 2023 Polls

NEC boss Mrs. Davidetta Brown Lansannah and NIR boss J. Tiah Nagbe(right)

The Plenary of the Liberian Senate yesterday mandated its joint Committee on Autonomous Agencies and Ways, Means, Finance and Budget to invite the authorities of the National Elections Commission, the Ministry of Finance  and Development Planning, and the National Identification Registry (NIR) to find a solution to the Biometric Voter Registration for the conduct of the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections. 

Senate Plenary in a debate yesterday indicated that the three institutions need to work together to proffer a workable plan that will address the issue of electoral fraud and other unnecessary practices during electioneering processes. 

A former employee of the (NIR), now Senator of   Rivercess County, Willington Geevon Smith, said that the Biometric Voter Registration System is the best way to proceed, because it is void of fraudulence and double registration. 

Senator Smith noted that the National Identification Registry has the capacity to do Biometric voter registration for even the authorities of the National Elections Commission and other entities in the country;

adding that there is a need for these organizations to work together to set up the system in the country based on what is being done in neighboring countries. 

Sinoe County Senator, J. Milton Teahjay, called for drastic cut down of all the unnecessary allocations within the proposed NEC budget to prioritize the most essential issues such as the Biometric voter registration which, according to him, will make the country’s elections credible and void of fraud. 

Updating the Senate on the proposed budget, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Autonomous Commissions and Agencies, Bong County Senator Dr. Henrque Flomo Tokpah, disclosed that his committee has met with the authorities of NEC on several occasions and discussed the way forward to their budget submitted to the Legislature.

Senator Tokpah further informed the Plenary on the findings of the committee’s meeting with NEC that the Commission wants to do Biometric voter registration for 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections, which may cost US$29.6 million, with a pilot project of US$4 million in Rivercess County. 

He said NEC has proposed to establish 14 additional magisterial offices across the country, which cost US$1.2 million, something he said the Committee recommended that there should be no new magisterial areas established.

In conclusion, Bomi County Senator, Edwin M. Snowe in motion proffered and endorsed, mandated the joint committee  to invite the relevant authorities and report to the plenary in one week.