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Margibi Lawmaker fights for social fund

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Margibi County district #2 Representative Ivar K. Jones craves the indulgence of the House of Representatives to mandate the joint Committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Public Accounts to fully implement appropriation of the Two Hundred Thirty-Seven Thousand, Nine Hundred, Eighty United States Dollars (US$237,980.00) social development funds between Margibi and Montserrado counties as stipulated in the Act exclusively setting aside Firestone Liberia land rental as social development fund for both counties.

He wants this to be effected in the FY2019/2020 draft national budget and to subsequently restitute the difference from all other fiscal periods, pending the passage of the Act.

Representatives Jones has written the House of Representatives, drawing its attention to alleged continuous violation of the Act exclusively setting aside the Firestone land rental as social development fund for Margibi and Montserrado counties, as enacted by the 53rd Legislature in 2013, relative to the full budgetary appropriation under the company’s social responsibilities.

He says evidence available indicates the 2018/2019 fiscal budget captured Twenty-five Thousand dollars for Margibi and nothing for Montserrado County, while the 2019/2020 draft nation budget also shows the appropriation of US$50,000 for Margibi County and nothing for Montserrado County, which according to him, clearly contravenes the Act.

He cites Section 19 of the Act ratifying the Amended and Restated Concession Agreement between the Republic of Liberia and Firestone Liberia INC, which in summary says, ‘’Firestone Liberia shall pay annually to government during each calendar year through December 31, 2014, a surface rental equal to US$ 2.00 per acre for a total of Two Hundred Thirty-Seven Thousand, Nine Hundred Eighty United States Dollars ($237,980.00 USD). In addition, all surface rentals shall be payable annually in advance on or before January 15 of the year for which payment is being made to the Minister of Finance of Liberia or as the government may otherwise direct by notice.” By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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