By Alex Yomah
As the 4th session of the 54th Legislature commences, the Liberian Senate has placed the discussion of the economy on top of its priority listing.
The current economic quagmire to be improved in Liberia ranges from calls to print more banknotes due to the shortage of the Liberian dollar banknotes in circulation couple with the banknotes inaccessibility in all commercial banking institutions; therefore, Senate Pro-Temp Albert Chie said the Legislature will review the statuses of the various Agreements that were approved including those sealed by previous governments.
Addressing legislative reporters following yesterday’s session, the Senate Pro-Tempore outlined many issues of economy which he said are on the Senate’s agenda to be expeditiously acted upon during the 4th session.
Senator Chie named liquidity issues involving both Liberian and United States dollars currencies at the banks and in the market; the restoration of confidence in the banking sector; measures to strengthen the Liberian economy, and among others burdening issues.
Chie also highlighted the revision of certain concession agreements by the Executive Branch of government and stated that the revision period as indicated in some of concessions have since elapsed and for other concessions, profound changes must be made in current circumstances which necessitate reviewing them to achieve a win-win situation for the investors and the government of Liberia.
He also spoke about the revision of legislations for pensions of various categories of public servants to ensure they live descent lives after so many years of sacrificial public services; amendments to several existing penal codes; and review of legal instruments creating some of the public corporations and state enterprises understanding and harmonization; their functions to prevent wastage and make them functional and more accountable.
Even though the Pro-Temp was not specific as to what concessions needed to be reviewed, he said there are been public outcries for the revision of APM Terminal as Liberians in the employ of APM Terminal last year decried its bad labor services which among other things led the Liberian Senate to punish the company.
In addition to criticism against APM Terminal, Bomi County Senator, Edwin Melvin Snowe recently expressed remorse for affixing his signature to document that gave APM Terminal company the legal right to operate in Liberia.
He said APM Terminal is one of the bogus companies that the Legislature ever granted permit during former President Johnson-Sirleaf’s regime and asked for forgiveness.
Meanwhile, the Senate Pro-Temp said there is a need that the senate conducts a survey to determine what led to majority defeats in the 2014 and 2020 midterm elections.
He said most of the senators especially Matthew Jay of River-Gee County was one of the Senators that carried out projects in his district, noting that there are more senators who carried out development yet, they were massively defeated.
He said in 2014, 15 senators went for re-election but only two senators, now Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor of Bong County and Senator Prince Johnson of Nimba County returned.
Pro-Temp narrated that due to massive defeats, the current Senate tried to work harder to improve the narratives by ensuring that more sitting senators were re-elected but regrettably, the same two were re-elected this time, Senator Dillon and Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence.
Sen. Chie believes the incumbent senators are losing because of constituent’s fatigue. “Some constituents believe the nine years too long.”
Liquidity Issue Tops Senate Agenda
By Alex Yomah