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Senate to reduce tenure posts in government

By Lewis S. Teh

Several institutions of government, including the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation or NASSCORP, Liberia Telecommunications Authority, Liberia Electricity Regulatory Authority, and Governance Commission, among others risk being stripped of tenure positions.

The Chair of the Senate committee on investment and concession, Senator Numene T.H. Bartekwa of Grand Kru County says

the senate is currently consulting with various stakeholders and experts regarding institutions of government that are not supposed to have tenure positions.

“The Senate in its wisdom, thought it wise to take a look at those institutions of government that are not integrity institutions to be de- tenurized so as to give the President the power to appoint people that will enforce his platform”, Senator Bartekwa told OK FM on Tuesday.

He said the senate decision is not limited to a particular President, but anyone that will emerge as winner from the 2023 presidential and legislative elections will also benefit from said decision.

He said sector commissions that are found within the integrity sector should not have had tenure positions, something he noted, has the ability to limit authority of the President in appointing people that will implement his platform.

However, Sen. Bartekwa cautioned the public not to be panic, noting that the senate itself subscribes to supporting integrity institutions, and there are no plans by the senate to act contrary to previous legislations.

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“We’re committed to every integrity institution and they will not be affected by this process, but those institutions that are not in the integrity sector will definitely be de-tenurized”, he said.

He named the Governance Commission, Liberia Telecommunications Authority, Small Arms Commission, NASSCORP, LERC, and Liberia Land Authority, among others as institutions that will be affected in the exercise.

Meanwhile, the Grand Kru County Senator said while it’s true that NASSCORP and other institutions play a significant role in the governing process of the country, but the senate’s decision is a process and not an event, as is being perceived in the public, adding that the senate is still soliciting views from key stakeholders and experts on the matter before reaching a conclusion.

Also speaking via telephone, Deputy GSA Director General and former representative of Montserrado County District#17 William Varney Darkel, extolled the senate plan, but warns that care should be taken because it has future consequences.

He said during his days at the Legislature, such decisions came from the Executive and were brought on the floor for debate.

Recently, Plenary of the Liberian Senate unanimously voted to repeal all laws creating Tenure in the Executive Branch of Government and establishing the tenure Act of 2019.

Under the Act, the senate maintains that there will be tenure positions for only integrity institutions.

The Senate’s action is triggered by a report from the Leadership of the Liberian Senate to amend several agencies or corporations of government, thereby limiting executive interference and providing independence to heads of those entities.

The institutions voted to be maintained under the current Act are the General Auditing Commission, Public Procurement and Concession Commission, National Elections Commission, Liberian Human Rights Commission, Liberia Extractive Industry, Transparency Initiative, Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, Internal Audit Agency, Central Bank of Liberia and Civil Service Commission.

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