Liberia’s President George Manneh Weah has, in keeping with Article 35 of the Liberian Constitution, disallowed Bong County Senator Dr. Henrique FlomoTokpa’s bill which sought to establish the Tumutu Agriculture College, barely one month after its passage by the Senate.
The Liberian Senate recently enrolled, for possible signature of the President, Bill No. 1, titled “An Act to Repeal an Act to create the Tumutu Vocational Training Institute and to establish in lieu thereof the Tumutu Agriculture College” and to grant the institute a charter status.
But President Weah indicates that the creation of a new institution should consider the availability of corresponding financial resources to fund personnel, logistic and other operational costs.
He cited the unfavorable financial situation facing government which he said didn’t warrant upgrading to college, a vocational training center already under the supervision of the Ministry of Youth and Sports with support from partners.
Dr. Tokpa had strong hope that the Bill would have been signed into law by President Weah, an optimism that led him to have publicized the Bill almost everywhere he went.
But President Weah says the vocational training center has already been captured under the budgetary plans and allocations, and that a shift in decision or its withdrawal from the Ministry of Youth and Sports as suggested by the bill is not healthy for the sustenance of the institute.
Currently, the Ministry of Youth and Sports supervises the Tumutu Vocational Training Center.
Under the Ministry’s supervision, the European Union (EU) is providing US$6m in support to the Ministries of Youth and Sports and Education and the Center also benefits from a US$10m French aid, according to the Executive Mansion.
Some people in upper Bong County have welcomed the move of the president.
Moses Gorlotor said establishing an Agriculture College in lower Bong will amplify government’s expenditure, maintaining that there is already a college here in Bong (Bong County Technical College) so whatever support that needs to come to the county for public college should be directed to BCTC instead of establishing another one.
“For me I think I said this same thing during the very first time Dr. Tokpa spoke about this agriculture college, sometimes it is good that we read between the lines before taking decision. But each time our leaders want to do something and people start to speak against their opinions, they will say that you are politicizing development,” Moses asserts.
According to him, if Dr. Tokpa had listened, he wouldn’t have wasted his time to craft a bill that has been trashed by the president.Our Bong County correspondent says the structure of the Bong County Technical College is yet to be completed.
The office of Dr. Tokpa has not responded to the latest development.
Meanwhile, President Weah has directed the Ministers of Education and Youth and Sports to coordinate with Bong County’s Legislative Caucus regarding Tumutu Training Center’s future transformation as a major technical and vocational training center. By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong—Edited by Winston W. Parley