Liberia: Biometric Voter Registration Could Face Some Hitches over Laxton Group’s Inability to Pre-Finance
Monrovia – The conduct of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) slated to commence on March 20 is likely to face some hitches as the company selected to carry out the exercise is unable to pre-finance as stated in the bid document.
At the moment, the National Elections Commission is relying on the government to provide US$4.5 million to the vendor in order to bring in the materials for the process.
By Jaheim T. Tumu- [email protected]
Phase one of the BVR process is expected to commence March 20 and ends on April 9, 2023, in Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Margibi, and Montserrado Counties.
A key requirement stated in the bid document for the almost US$12 million contract is that the company must demonstrate the ability to pre-finance the process.
According to the payment terms stated in the tender document, Section ITB 11.1(h) to be exact, the payment terms states that 50% should be made available to the winner of the bid after the completion of the voter registration exercise; 25% after the Exhibition, and 25% after the elections. These requirements were the detailed payment terms as indicated by NEC in their tender. Hence, a key requirement was proof of acceptance by bidders to pre-financing of the project.
However, Laxton has, however, shown that it is unable to pre-finance the BVR.
This has led to the Chairperson of the NEC, Davidetta Brown-Lansannah to hint that the BVR process might be delayed if the government does not provide the funding to Laxton Group.
She lamented that the process is critical, as such they are working with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to provide funds to endure that the BVR process is carried out promptly.
Said Madam Lansanah said: “To date, we received 14 million in Liberian and United States currencies. There is a deficit of US$4.5 million. This is outstanding.
“The reason why it is critical is that, according to our contract, we have to provide a letter of credit to the bank for the Laxton Group.”
She further disclosed, “Maybe I should not say it, this money, the balance money, If not received in a few days, the delivery of biometric equipment to the country will be stalled and if it is stalled it means that there is a potential to push forward the voter registration.”
She, however, called on stakeholders to use their connections and energies to ensure that the Commission received the US$4.5 million to facilitate the BVR process.
She asserted that late funding to the Commission has always triggered concern amongst Liberians and grave concern from the international partners and the regional partners as it relates to maintaining peace and security.
She, however, said that the Commission commits to working with Liberians, and international and regional partners to ensure the integrity of the electoral process which they believe would help sustain a peaceful process and stability in Liberia.
“We also know that late funding to the Commission has always triggered concern amongst Liberians and grave concern from the international partners and the regional partners concerning maintaining peace and security.”
“I will applaud to you to help us get this funding and this connection, the Commission uses this platform to urge the Ministry of Finance and Development and not just to allot but to monetize physically the remaining 4.5 million,” she said.