Liberia: Speaker Chambers Clarifies Legislature Re-convened to Initiate Discussion of 2021 National Budget
MONROVIA – House Speaker Bhofal Chambers said contrary to media report that they were re-called by President George Weah, the Legislature cut its break short to commence the discussion of the 2021 national budget.
There have been reports that the Legislature returned for a two-month special session at the request of President Weah. However, speaking to reporters on Monday on Capitol Hill, Speaker Chambers said the Legislature recalled itself in line with the Public Financial Management (PFM) Law and not the President as speculated in the public.
The reconvening of the Legislature is intended to receive the 2022 National Budget and act on it before 2022. Due to the change in the fiscal year calendar, the National Budget of Liberia will now run from January 1 to December 31 of every year instead of July 1 to June 30.
The Speaker said the ‘Certificate to Reconvene’ was signed by over 20 Representatives, which is more than 1/4th of the total membership of the House of Representatives.
The reconvening of the Legislature is done in accordance with Article 32(b) of the 1986 Constitutions.
The Certificate to Reconvene, states: “We, the below listed members of the House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature, having acknowledged that due to the Amendment and Restatement of the Public Financial Management (PMC) Act, approved October 30, 2019, changing the fiscal year from July to June of the same year, which gives the Executive Branch two (2) months to submit the National Budget to the Legislature prior to its enactment, do hereby affix our signatures in pursuant to Article 32(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, to reconvene in a Special Session of the 54th Legislature commencing October 18, 2021 and ending December 18, 2021 to deliberate on the National Budget and associated instruments as a matter of national emergency and concern.”
According to the Speaker, several legislative instruments including the National Budget will be discussed during the Special Session. In the spirit of coordination, Dr. Chambers stressed that members of the 54th Legislature are fully prepared in enhancing good governance of the government.
One of the major instruments that the Legislature is expected to receive from the President for enactment into law is the amended Arcelor Mittal’s Mineral Development Agreement (MDA).
Asked if the Legislature has received the agreement from the President, the Speaker said that up to press time, his office has not received it. However, he said the Legislature will act on it when it is brought before it.