Liberia: Finance Minister Tells Senate Weah Administration Prepared to Fund Mid Term Elections
Monrovia – Finance and Economic Planning Minister Samuel Tweah has told the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Elections that the Government of Liberia through the Executive branch is prepare to fund the pending referendum and Mid-Term senatorial election and avoid a constitutional crisis.
Appearing before the Committee Monday, the Finance Minister promised that by the end of June, the ministry will make available US$1 million to the National Elections Commission (NEC) which is part of the US$3 million already given the Commission.
Said Minister Tweah: “We have prepared to fund the elections. The NEC has a budget of US$17 Million and by June 30, 2020, they will receive US$2 million and seven hundred thousand is still in allotment. Additionally, we have given three hundred thousand, and in the recast budget there is an additional US1 million allotment that could be paid in the next 14 days.”
“We have prepared to fund the elections. The NEC has a budget of US$17 Million and by June 30, 2020, they will receive US$2 million and seven hundred thousand is still in allotment. Additionally, we have given three hundred thousand, and in the recast budget there is an additional US1 million allotment that could be paid in the next 14 days.”Mr. Samuel D. Tweah, Minister of Finance & Economic Planning
The minister added: “The budget was just passed. So, by the end of this week we will try to allot the other US1 million. So, we are moving to US$2 million. By the time June, July passes in the new budget, we will have US$8 million in that new budget and given the importance of the election, we are prepare to submit a large sum of that money early July.”
Minister Tweah described the conduct of the 2020 Midterm Senatorial Election and Referendum as the most important calls right now; and the holding of elections to avoid a constitutional crisis.
In support of what Senator Varney Sherman had earlier proposed, the Finance minister said, the Public Finance Law (PFM)requires company or individuals doing business with Liberia to Pre-Finance. The minister however acknowledged that government’s attitude toward debt payment has dropped the confidence in people doing business with them.
“The PFM law says anybody doing business with government should be able to pre-finance, but the government behavior over the years has gotten to a situation where people don’t trust their ability to pay or they don’t have the ability to pre-finance. The law says anyone taking government contract must be able to pre-finance that’s what the law says.”
Minister Tweah also acknowledged violating the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) law by granting a letter to NEC to go-ahead with certain activities. According to the minister, he had committed to the NEC US$$7 million that was not in the government’s principal legal document.
Said the minister: “Even though I granted them a letter I made it public that I violated the law because there was not a budget and I approved US$7 million to the PPCC which granted the no objection on that basis. I was committing US$7 million that was not in the government principal legal document. I am assuring service providers that by the end of election they will be paid.”
In an attempt to back up his argument, the minister told committee members that NEC does not need half of the US$17 million to do elections because other services can be paid after the conduct of elections. “We can identify the urgent needs now and those that could come after the conduct of election.”