Liberia: Rep. Fonati Koffa Requests US$590k Budgetary Allotment to Grand Kru County

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Citing the 2008 census conducted by the Liberia Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), Rep. Koffa said the entire population of Grand Kru is 63,000. Though understated, the number is just 1.4 percent of the total population of Liberia, while the money requested is less than a fraction of one percent of the draft budget submitted to the Legislature by President George Weah.

Capitol Hill, Monrovia – Representative J. Fonati Koffa (District #2, Grand Kru County) is seeking plenary’s approval to allocate the amount of US$590,000 from Fiscal Year 2020/2021 budget to Grand Kru County in order to undertake several infrastructure development projects and procurement of essential items for the  health and education sectors within the county.

The budget for FY2020/2021, which is in the tune of US$535 million is currently being scrutinized by the Joint Budget Committee of the Legislature.

Following the completion of the hearing, the committee is expected to recommend plenaries of both Houses of Senate and Representatives to vote in favor of its passage into law.

However, in a rare communication to members of the House through Speaker Bhofal Chambers, Rep. Koffa, who chairs the House Statutory Committee on Judiciary said he will only vote in favor of the passage of the budget when his colleagues accept his request.

Citing the 2008 census conducted by the Liberia Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), Rep. Koffa said the entire population of Grand Kru is 63,000. Though understated, the number is just 1.4 percent of the total population of Liberia, while the money requested is less than a fraction of one percent of the draft budget submitted to the Legislature by President George Weah.

Most of the recent developments in Grand Kru, the lawmaker mentioned, has occurred through presidential initiatives, personal projects sponsored by lawmakers, or projects undertaken by non-governmental organizations.

“Under increasingly stark realities that lawmaker’s salary is not the panacea for rural development, we come to this august body seeking its assistance in ensuring that portions of the parts of Liberia you do not see get share of the national pie,” Cllr. Koffa requested.

His request, he added, is also in line with Article Seven of the Constitution of Liberia which states that, “The republic shall, consistent with the principles of individual freedom and social justice enshrined in this Constitution, manage the national economy and natural resources of Liberia in such manner as shall ensure the maximum feasible participation of Liberian citizens under conditions of equality as to advance the general welfare of the Liberian people and the economic development of Liberia.”

“It is about time that the Legislature make these truths self-evident to thousands of citizens living in Grand Kru County,” he wrote.

Expenditure Breakdown

Meanwhile, Rep. Koffa, in his communication, outlined that of theUS$590,000 requested, US$150 will be allocated for the renovation  of the Sasstown High School. He said since the school was built in 1982, it has undergone no renovation and its maintenance budget has reduced severely. The amount, he defended, was necessary to prevent the collapse of the already deteriorating structure and enable hundreds of the students to have access to quality education.

For the Barclayville Central High School with similar problems as Sasstown High, Rep. Koffa also proposed US$150,000. The Principal high school within the County’s Capital also plays host to the Grand Kru Vocational and Technical College and is nearly unusable during the raining season as huge-gaping holes are visible from the roof.

Rep. Koffa is also proposing that US$100,000 of his requested amount should go to the Rally Time Hospital. The premier referral hospital is currently undergoing renovation by a German NGO. However, he noted that the County Health Team will need the money to purchase equipment and other upgrades to compliment this work, adding, “It will be useless to have a brand new hospital that is unusable for lack of equipment.”

Another US$100,000 was allotted to the Domo Nimene Hospital, a primary healthcare facility serving new mothers and infants in Sasstown. According to Rep Koffa, the fund, when approved will be used to upgrade the equipment as the hospital is about to be renovated by the Germans.

Finally, the lawmaker is requesting the remaining US$90,000 for the rehabilitation of the Wakpo-Nyankopo road, a 24-kilometer road with in District #2 in Grand Kru County.

The rod, which serves a major section of the population in Bollah district, he noted, has become impassable, increasing the cost of goods and services on an already “impoverished population.”

As a new census approaches, he warned that thousands of the residents within the area will not be counted as enumerators will be unable to reach them if the road stays in its current condition.

Meanwhile, Rep. Koffa’s communication was received and forwarded to the joint Committee on Ways, Means and Finance and Internal Affairs for further review and to report back by Next Tuesday, September 14, 2020.

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