Deputy Speaker Laments Increased Taxes on Basic Commodities


Monrovia – Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Hans Barchue has described as unfortunate the increment in taxes by the legislature on basic commodities including water and hopes it could be reversed.

Report by Henry Karmo – [email protected]

“This is unfortunate but it is the reality of the time and we hope it could be reversed,” Deputy Speaker Barchue told journalist.

“It has to do with policies, economy and fiscal – the monetary policy has to be look at too because the manner and form prices are going up and we could go back to the drawing board I guess.”

But Barchue admitted that solving the current economic challenge is massive but policies must impact the ordinary Liberians.

“I am not over the fiscal institution of Government; however, we must always take into account the impact that will be held on the people when we make policies.

For example, the increase in taxes on water I don’t think it was a wise move,” he said.

Defending his position furthered Rep. Barchue said: “I remembered we resisted certain attempt to increase at certain level on some taxes when we were presiding and when we recalled those taxes were brought back again. It is unfortunate.”

In response to question about how his role in tax increment could hamper his re-election back in his constituency in Grand Bassa County boasted about a “solid” political establishment in his district.

The legislature in December 2016 during its extra sitting voted for taxes to be increased from 7% to 10% on tobacco, 35% on imported water and 2% for locally produced water and that taxes on residential buildings are increased from 0.083% to 0.25%.

The lawmakers also voted that taxes be increased on land within city or town limits which is currently at 2% get an increment to 3.5% and that goods and services taxes increased from 10% and 5%.

A 15% increment was proposed to be levied on hotel services, gambling services and restaurant services.

During Tuesday session, it appeared that Hon. Brachue was critical of the proceeding.

Deputy Speaker Barchue, to the dismay of many witnessing the session said he was not aware of the agenda for Tuesday session.

Rule 25.11 states that the chief clerk, under the supervision of the Speaker, prepares and distributes the agenda at the beginning of every session.

It can be recall that during the leadership crisis at the house when parallel sessions were held Deputy Speaker Barchue presided over the majority bloc of the House of Representatives that later became the legitimate body recognized by the Executive branch of government against former Speaker Alex Tyler minority that claimed to be constitutional.

Barchue who worked to removed Tyler served as his immediate deputy for five years was labeled as treacherous.

In one of his news conferences after Tyler’s removal, Barchue boasted that he passed 30 international protocols, agreement and bills under his gavel.

With an eye on the speakership, he needed the majority bloc but that was not the case as Emmanuel Nuquay was presented as the favorite who could later claimed the powerful position.

Using his gavel as presiding officer, he adjourned session for the Legislative constituency break but that decision was rejected by 33 members of the House, including the chairman on Executive, Representatives Josephine Francis who he appointed replacing Rep. Wesseh Blamo   as chair on executive acted as presiding officer.