The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: U.S.$90 Million County Development, But

A Senator of Rivercess County has submitted a bill to the plenary of the Liberian Senate, calling for 15 percent of the country's national budget (about US$90m) for county development.

"I wish to submit a bill to provide fifteen percent (15%) of the fiscal national budget of the Republic of Liberia for the development of the 15 sub-political divisions of the country; I am persuaded that with this appropriation in the national budget, counties along with their legislators will be poised to make effective the mandate of their constituents in the context of development; this bill will also reduce the heavy dependency syndrome on the Executive Branch of Government for development in the counties; and it is also intended to empower the local, as well as decentralizing our resources", Senator J. Jonathan Banney said in his communication to plenary Tuesday.

He noted that it was unpleasant that the counties will not benefit economically if the executive branch continues to decide the fate of the counties which constitute, what he referred to as generalization of the country's population.

The Rivercess County lawmaker quoted Article 7 of the Liberian Constitution as providing that 'the management of the national economy and the national resources of Liberia in such a manner as shall ensure the maximum feasible participation of Liberian citizens under the condition of equality as to advance the general welfare of the Liberian people and the economic development of Liberia'.

He pointed out that citizens residing in the various counties contribute to the economy of central government through the payment of taxes with little or nothing in return for the development of their counties.

Following the reading of the bill, Lofa County Senior Senator Sumo Kupee made a motion for the bill to be sent into the committee room for further research and thorough checking before introduction for possible passage into law. The bill is expected back to plenary within two weeks time.

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