Liberian Leader Pushes Lawmakers for Urgent Actions On Critical Legislations Towards Accelerating National Development

President George Manneh Weah -Photo Credit: Executive Mansion

The Liberian leader, President George Manneh Weah, has urged the 54th National Legislature to act as urgently as possible on passing key legislations pending before that august body for the common good of the country and its people.

President Weah said amending certain constitutional provisions and other legislations before the Legislature was extremely critical to the enhancement of national development.

The President asserted that he was of the strongest conviction that there would be no progressive, aggressive and achievable national growth if lawmakers failed to take quick and appropriate action in passing the very important legislations.

Speaking at a two-day Presidential-Legislative Retreat last weekend, August 16-17, 2019 at Farmington Hotel in Margibi County, the Liberian Leader said it was important for the meeting of the minds from the two Branches of Government to review attending impediments to efforts aimed at passing critical legislations germane to the acceleration of national growth and development.

“We have realized that the review of laws of our country, including the Constitution, has been overtaken by time and circumstances,” the President stated. “Consequently, I have decided that it was time we came together to review the Constitution.”

“Another reason we are here is to appeal to you to consider legislations pending before you,” the President told the audience of lawmakers. “As you may know, the legislations are amongst the most important instruments of my government to protect its citizens and make them happy.”

He said the passing of these legislations cannot be achieved if the legislature did not get involved to take timely action, adding, “It is against this background I have invited you so that together we review these propositions.”

The Liberian Head of State also acknowledged that coordination between the Legislative and the Executive Branches of government, as enshrined in the 1986 Constitution, was sine qua non to the attainment of cohesive national growth and advancement.

The President said further: “You will recall that the former constitutional review process was initiated by my predecessor, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2012 when she appointed the constitutional Review Committee (CRC), with the specific mandate including the review of the constitution to identify unhealthy provisions and determine whether they required amendments and to draft proposals to such amendments.”

He told the august body that since the CRC completed its work and submitted same to the former President Sirleaf who immediately presented the 25 Propositions to the national legislature, no action has been taken to generate the required legislative actions.

Some of the Propositions cover certain sections of the Constitution to be amended: They include: Amendment of Article 28 to provide for dual citizenship of persons who are Negros or of Negros descent;  Amendment of Article 45 to provide for filling vacancies created by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise of Senators; Amendment of Article 46 to provide for reduction in the tenure of Senators; Amendment of Article 48 to provide for the reduction in the tenure of Representatives; and Amendment of Article 49 to provide for the election of Speaker, Deputy Speaker and other officers of the House of Representatives.

They also include Propositions to amend Article 50 in order to provide for the reduction in the tenure of the president, and amendment of Article 66 to provide for the establishment of Regional Intermediary Appellate Court.

The President said, as Head of State, he has responsibilities to take certain actions in the interest of the state, noting “I have noticed that since my ascendancy, certain legislations that are germane to the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development are still pending before the Legislature.”

He pleaded for the cooperation of lawmakers in passing the bills before them as part of the government’s legislative agenda.

“We cannot execute some major projects to develop our country if the National Legislature does not ratify the agreements or contracts before them,” the President said.

President Weah reminded lawmakers that the country could lose the huge amount of offshore monies intended for budgetary support in the current draft Budget for fiscal year 2019/20 if they delayed the passage of certain legislations, such as the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the Power Theft Bill, among others.

It is the first time the Executive and Legislative Branches held the ‘Presidential-Legislative Retreat’ to review and brainstorm on issues of critical national importance and how to together move the country and its development agenda forward.

At the close of the two-day brainstorming event, the Legislature accepted President Weah’s plea to act on bills before them in a timely manner.

Source: Executive Mansion

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