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LISCR Agreement faces reconsideration

Sen Oscar Cooper NDMargibi County Senator Oscar Cooper, has filed a motion for reconsideration on the passage of the Liberia International Shipping and Corporate Registry or LISCR Agreement, requesting that the document be brought back to plenary for open debate.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, 16 June at the Liberian Legislature on Capitol Hill, Senator Cooper said it was necessary that the document be re-examined to acquaint members of the Senate and provide insight into the agreement.

He noted that the agreement was passed into law hastily in breach of the Senate’s rules, which call for the involvement of two-thirds members of the Senate in the passage of Acts.

Senator Cooper continued that the amendment changed the prior agreement, and as such the Senate should review the prior Agreement in order to determine whether the amendment is in the interest of the people of Liberia.

According to the Margibi County Senator, the Agreement requires that within 12 months of coming into effect, the Liberian Maritime Authority or LMA and LISCR are required to purchase a building to be used as a U.S. head office of the Liberian Registry.

Under the Agreement, LISCR is to provide US$2 million to the Government of Liberia to cover closing costs, real estate agent fees and related expenses.

Senator Cooper said the US$2 million, which is part of the Agreement, is of no benefit to Liberia, adding it further provides that not more than 25 percent of the annual net program revenues are to be transmitted on a monthly basis directly to the Liberia Maritime Authority to fund the LMA’s budget as approved by its board of directors.

He also said that this provision violates provisions of the Financial Management Act that requires all funds due the Government of Liberia to be deposited in the Consolidated Fund of the Government.

It may be recalled that Plenary of the House of Representatives unanimously passed into law an Act ratifying the Extended and Restated Agency Agreement entered into by and between the Republic of Liberia and LISCR, LCCR. 

The decision to pass the proposed legislation was reached on March 24, 2015 during a regular Session following recommendations from the Committees on Maritime, Ways, Means and Finance and Judiciary, respectively based on a public hearing conducted Friday, March 20, 2015. 

The Public hearing brought together major stakeholders from the private and public sectors for the provision of expert opinion to inform Legislative decision making on the instrument.

The Act, among other things, seeks to produce a pool of qualified manpower through regular training program of the Maritime Academy.

The agreement released government’s revenue spent on rental for far more productive development programs in other areas of Liberia’s post-war reconstruction initiative. By Ben P. Wesee – Editing by Jonathan Browne

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