Statement at The Opening of The 5th Session of The 54th Legislature by Senator Albert T. Chie, President Pro-Tempore
Salutation: Madam Vice President and President of the Senate, Distinguished Colleagues, the Senate Secretary and Chamber Staff, Employees and Staff of the Senate, Members of the Press, Visitors, our good citizens:
We take this opportunity to welcome our distinguished Senators back from their Annual Recess, one of the shortest in recent memory, as we adjourned the Special Session just a few weeks ago.
But thank you for returning to the Capitol on time to commence the 5th Session of the 54th Legislature.
Although in the 4th Session we worked overtime looking at various bills and other legislative instruments, we however did not exhaust several other issues on the legislative agenda I presented at the fourth session. These include, inter alia:
- Review of certain concession agreements by the Executive Branch, as the review period indicated in some of them have since elapsed; and for other concessions, profound changes in current circumstances necessitate reviewing them to achieve a win-win situation for the investor and the Government.
- Review of the status of the various incentive agreements approved by successive governments;
- Review of legislation for pensions of various categories of public servants to ensure they live descent lives after so many years of sacrificial public service;
- Review of legal instruments creating some of the public corporations and state enterprises to understand and harmonize their functions, prevent wastage and make them functional and more accountable; and
- Roads rehabilitation, especially along major corridors throughout the country.
The issue of road rehabilitation along the Bong-Lofa Corridor, the Southeastern Corridors, the Duala-Bopulu road segment and the Robertsport road segments continue to pose challenge and shame us as leaders. That is why it is important that the House of Representatives quickly review the proposed amendment to the National Road Fund Act submitted to it by the Senate so that, as people often say “ we cannot be doing the same thing over and over and expect different results”.
Madam Vice President, Distinguished Colleagues, besides the above legislative issues, in this 5th Session, the Senate will continuously look at issues of security, electricity, especially its distribution, and the perennial problems in the education and health sectors. Also, The Banking and Currency Committee will monitor the infusion of the new family of Liberian dollar currency authorized for printing and the concomitant withdrawal and replacement of all the old currency by the Central Bank of Liberia. The net effect of this infusion and replacement on the liquidity positions of the commercial banks, on the purchasing power of Liberians and on the confidence in the bank sector will also be analyzed.
As legislative and presidential elections will be held next year, the Senate will look at proposed amendments to the elections law and prepare to submit several proposed amendments of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia to a national referendum during the 2023 elections.
Furthermore, from the Special Session which ran from October 18 to December 18, 2020, we brought over the 3rd Amendment to the Acelormittal Mineral Development Agreement, the Bao Chico Mineral Development Agreement and the 2022 National Budget. I commit the Senate to act on them before its Easter Break.
We also look forward to receiving bills from you, my colleagues, to form part of the legislative agenda of the 5th Session.
Madam Vice President, Distinguished Colleagues, Our Citizens and Visitors, I wish to conclude this statement, as the 2023 political season draws near, by calling for calm among the various political actors in our country, the settling of political differences through legal and other peaceful means only and commitment by all to preserve the peace.
I wish to thank our bilateral and multilateral partners for the various assistance, especially the Government of the United States, the European Union and the People’s Republic of China to which we commit to the One China Policy on behalf of the Liberian Senate.
We express our gratitude to the various workers of this country, in both public and private sectors, with special thanks to health workers and our teachers; and finally “thank you” to the employees and staff of the Legislature for their contribution to the work of members of Senate and the House of Representatives.
May God continue to guide our actions, protect us and save our country.