15 January 2013

Liberia: Legislature Promises Tough Engagement With Executive

The two leaders of the Liberian Legislature have promised tough engagement with its counterpart, the Executive branch of government. Both Speaker Alex Tyler and Senate Pro-tempore Gbenzongar Milton Findley promised to embark on radical engagement with the Executive in the interest of the Liberian populace.

Pro-tempore Findley said Monday during the official opening of the Legislature that the Senate will constructively engage the Executive branch, including President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on the way forward to regularizing salaries discrepancies among public corporations.

Senator Findley pointed out that it is unfortunate and total disrespect to some Liberians, who are doing the same job, but with separate institutions, earning low wages while others receive higher pay. He said such practice by the government is unacceptable in the midst of strenuous economic reality.

He also promised to work with the Executive, especially officials of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) on oil sector reform. Though, the legislature started the reform process of oil sector prior to their break, up to present, the leadership of both houses had failed to provide update to the Liberian people on progress achieved so far.

The Grand Bassa County Senior Senator, who is seeking re-election in 2014, indicated that the Senate will also work with relevant authorities of the Executive branch to improve the educational sector.

He stressed that education reform process will be keen on technical and vocational sectors, meaning that the government will be able to provide scholarships to interested students and upon graduation to serve the state.

Pro-tempore Findley further promised that members of the first branch of government will commence their activities with the early passage of the "Code of Conduct Bill" in the second sitting of the 53rd Legislature.

The bill was submitted by the Executive about two years ago, but both the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate have failed to act on or enact the document into law for unexplained reasons.

The bill seeks among others to place restrictions on government officials in the usage of public properties, including vehicles and funds allotted to their respective offices, something that seems to not being welcomed by the legislators.

Also, he committed the possible passage of the Decent Work Bill, which seeks to provide minimum wages for employees as well as protect the rights of both employers and employees. For his part, Speaker Alex Tyler of Bomi County called on his colleagues to be more cooperative in discharging their respective duties in serving the people.

The Speaker said those lawmakers elected during the 2011 presidential and legislative elections should now understand the rudiments of legislative politics, and should by now be about to debate issues brought on the floor. He noted that the burden of legislative power squarely rest on them, and history will judge them (lawmakers) if they do not serve honorably.

Meanwhile, the ceremony was attended by some members of the Executive, including Foreign Affairs Minister, Augustine Ngafuan, Finance Minister Amara Konneh, and Information Minister Lewis Brown, amongst others.

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