The House of Representatives here has adjourned sitting for the 53rd Legislature without passing some 13 bills for which lawmakers were recently recalled by outgoing President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf to get legislative actions on the bills she submitted to them for passage.
Outgoing House Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay who stood as running mate on a losing ticket to Unity Party’s presidential candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai last year says to legislative reports in an interview Thursday, 11 January that Plenary of the House has refused to pass the bills on grounds that such bills are not in the interest of the country and its people.
President Sirleaf submitted a matrix of 22 bills with a priority on 13 of them for passage by the Legislature during a nine – day extension that has been in effect as of Thursday, 4 January and due to expire on Saturday, 13 January.
The 13 prioritized bills which the President wants passed include Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and Dangote Cement-Liberia Limited; An Act Ratifying the Agreement for the Establishment of the African Export Import Bank (AFREMIXBANK); An Act to Amend Title 25, Patriotic and Cultural Observances Law, Chapter 3, Recognition of Distinguished Service, by adding thereto to a New Subsection 64 to be named the Order of the Republic and An Act to name Certain Roads and Bridges in the country.
Others are, a bill to Amend Chapter 22 Subsection 22.76(a) of the Liberian National Police Act, 2015; Land Rights Bill; a Bill to Amend Section 6.1(5) of the Aliens and Nationality Law of Liberia, Title 4, Liberian Codes of Laws Revised, regarding Permits of Residence; a Bill to Ratify the Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and the TIDFORE Investment Company and Liberia Steel and Cement Mining (LICEMCO).
But House Speaker Mr. Nuquay observes that there are concerns among many Liberians who he says feel strongly that when government is in transition, it is not a right time for the outgoing government to pass bills that will have impact on the governance of the State.
He argues that considering that a new administration will soon take charge of the affairs of State, it is a bad form of governance to pass these bills at the close of the current administration that is preparing to turn over power on 22 January.
According to him, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) – led administration is very concerned about the bills and the CDC has reportedly indicated to them (lawmakers) that they feel that the new government should have a greater say in the process.
Mr. Nuquay tells reporters that lawmakers created a space allowing outgoing President Sirleaf and President – elect George Manneh Weah to have a conversation surrounding the bills with the understanding that the two leaders would get back to the lawmakers following their discussion.
But he claims that up to date, he has not received any information about the outcome of what President Sirleaf and President – elect Weah concluded on the bills. As such, the outgoing Speaker says there is no need to pass the bills in question, noting that the best option now is to allow the newly elected lawmakers who will take seat this month to continue where the outgoing lawmakers stopped.
By Bridgett Milton–Edited by Winston W. Parley