Liberia: Senate Passes “Power Theft” Bill, Other Legislations

Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and Senate Pro-Temp Albert Chie

Monrovia – The Senate has finally passed “A Bill for an Act to amend the Penal law Chapter 15, by adding thereto a new Section 15.88 to provide for Power Theft”.

The Senate took the decision on Thursday, August 29, following a report from the Joint Committee on Lands, Mines, Energy, Natural Resources & Environment and Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims & Petitions.

The Bill, which seeks to criminalize Power Theft, when signed into law by the President of Liberia and publish into Handbill, will reduce the rampant stealing of power and thereby promoting economic development.

In another related development, the Senate has voted unanimously to scrutinize a US$50m Loan.

The Plenary of the Liberian Senate voted to securitize a loan agreement between the Government of Liberia and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).
The loan agreement, which is in the tune of US$50 million, was submitted to the Senate by President George M. Weah.

Following the reading of the proposed agreement, the Senate’s plenary, through a motion proffered by River Cess County Senator Dallas A. V. Gueh, voted to forward the agreement to the Senate’s statutory committees on Public Works, Ways, Means, Finance & Budget, and Judiciary for scrutiny and report findings to Plenary for legislative action. 

Based on the agreement, the bank shall grant the borrower a loan from the resources of the Indian line of credit in the amount not exceeding US$ 50,000 to finance partially the cost of the implementation of the Barclayville-Klowne-Sasstown Road Construction project in the Republic of Liberia. The total cost of the project is in the tone of US$92, 56 million.

Road connectivity is an old age challenge for the southeastern counties thus leaving the people of that region in poverty while some die from simple sicknesses that can be taken care of.

The ECOWAS Bank for Investment is an international Financial Institution duly authorized to carry out the business of banking within and outside the West Africa Sub-region.

The project is made up of five components, to include Civil Works, Consulting for design and supervision of works and support to special project implementation unit.

The total project road 96.9k-km shall be designed for a 20-year design life for an equivalent standard axle load (EASAL) of 11.5 tons or above with a design speed of 80 km/hr.

The objective of the project is to promote national integration as well as contribute towards government’s pro-poor agenda for development and prosperity’s goal of poverty reduction and economic development by reducing time and vehicle operating cost, resulting in reduced road user costs for both passengers and freight.

Other bills passed by the Liberian Senate during its 57-day sitting on Thursday, August 29, 2019 includes, “The World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement; United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1998; Single Convention on Narcotic drugs (as amended by the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 and Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971.”

Others are “International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (as amended, known as the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC); ECOWAS Customs Code; Economic Partnership agreement between the West African States, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union and the European Union and its Member States; Minimum Age Convention, 138″ and Customs Code Amendment.” 

All of these bills were submitted by the President of Liberia for legislative action and have since been in committees’ rooms. 

The Vice President of Liberia and President of the Senate, Jewel Howard Taylor, who on behalf of the President of Liberia pleaded with the Senate for the passage of these bills, in a communication to the Plenary said there was a compelling necessity to remind the August Body of the ratification/and or enactment of these International Convention and Bills.