Liberia: Speaker Chambers Wants Lawmaker’s Involvement in Crafting Concession Agreement before Submission to Legislature

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MONROVIA – House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers says it is important that the first two branches of government jointly engage and participate in the crafting of all agreements, especially all concession agreements before they formally reach the Legislature for passage and ratification. 

Speaker Chambers said this approach would enhance and strengthen the Legislature’s enactment and oversight roles. 

He said: “The traditional practice that lawmakers only look, pass or see and ratify agreement should be viewed as a thing of the past. The tradition for legislative ratification needs significant structural overhaul.

“Tuesdays and Thursdays are Plenary Session days; Wednesdays are meeting days for committees, while Fridays are constituency days. The two most important days in Legislators’ work period are Tuesdays and Thursdays, which are plenary days. Therefore, it would be fair in line with our Legislative Rules that Lawmakers be invited to occasions for their participation on days other than Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

In a statement issued by the Speaker, he called on Liberians to look more in the direction to boost the nation’s economy so that all institutions and or functionaries of government work for the people’s interests and needs. 

“This country should never be branded again as a sufferer of the Dutch Disease. For rapid economic growth, we need to revisit the laws controlling many of our economic areas. Those areas to look at critically are: “Mining, Land, Forestry, Agriculture, Insurance, Telecommunications, Electricity, others.”

The Speaker in his statement said, besides the many issues that have been stated supra, there is a strong case for the State or government to adopt the path of public-private partnership or joint venture type of investment practice. 

“It is even more of a desideratum or a necessity that this Legislature ensures the legislation(s) this Government or country, on its own, owns or manages gold fields or mines to stabilize the economy.

“Economically, gold bars are owned and used by government, businesses or individuals as a method of maintaining or storing value, stabilizing portfolios or balance sheet, or as a reserve currency.”

He believe gold bars have always been and are still a very useful function as a commercial tool. Most times, he said, gold is used as a hedge against inflation, or as a cash equivalent in helping to appropriately balance out a portfolio.

In the past, gold was used as a common circulation currency in the form of gold coins. Currently, it is used as reserve currency by most government in the settlement of international trade and a stabilizer of currency values. Some central banks often buy gold as a way to bolster their reserves.

“Liberians on all levels of our social strata believe that this State and people are disproportionately benefitting from their resources because of some bad agreements left behind by previous government(s). We can make the difference.”

The House Speaker is also recommending urgent need for Liberians to collectively generate a proactive vision of a sustainable blueprint for its people now and for the future… “We can create that blueprint. Singapore has done it; Bhutan is doing it; Rwanda is doing it; Botswana is doing it; Costa Rica is doing it; and indeed Liberia can also do it even better.”

In comparison to Singapore, he said, before independence, Singapore was described or considered less than a Garbage dump, or a cesspool. It means, at that time, in the 1960s, Singapore was at the lowest point of developmental paralysis. Many nations of the world once felt that Singapore and its citizens would have remained impoverished eternally, if not for a very long time.

“Singapore has a very small land mass of 279.6 sq. mi. with a population of over 6 million people. With these many glaring natural challenges, Singapore has been able to significantly transform itself positively and has become the modern standard for growth.  After its independence in 1965, Singapore was transformed into a major manufacturing hub. The late Conservative Economist, Milton Friedman, described Singapore as an example of How to do development right.”

Conservatives view Singapore as a free-market success story. Few capital restrictions and liberal immigration policies have made Singapore one of the world’s attractive cosmopolitan places on Planet Earth. Singapore has an extraordinary business-friendly atmosphere. Liberia can definitely be the new Singapore.

“To turn Liberia into a new Singapore, we all must wear a new garment of national unity and national pride. Let us all begin to work hand-in-hand under the capstone of Nation-Building.”

The Female Factor

In his further comments he said, Liberia, like the rest of the democratic world, needs to do more for its female population. 

“We will be remiss if we do not accord our 7President, Dr. George M. Weah Sr., the required respect and acclamation in narrowing the gender gap. The contribution the President is making in ensuring gender equity is unmatched.”

County Meet Architecture 

On the County meet organization, he said, the underfunding of the National County Meet is critically a pressing national problem the Nation has been and is still facing.

According to him, all the counties do not have the same capacity in preparing their teams. They often travel under perilous condition to games. If this trend continues, fairness in the process or the optimization of the county meet competition will be a distant reality, if not an illusion.

“The State has to take ownership and not rely on the goodwill of individuals. It is therefore categorically timely that this Legislature appropriates one hundred thousand United States dollars (US$100,000) to each county directly to independently manage their funds for full participation. Also, two hundred fifty thousand United State dollars (US$250,000) could be provided to the Youth and Sports Ministry for its supervisory role in the conduct of the competition.”

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