The House of Representatives has expressed serious concern over what it called the delay by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to sign into law the Draft National Budget of the fiscal period 2013/2014.
The Draft National Budget was passed by the House on August 11, 2013 and subsequently submitted to the Senate for concurrence.
The Senate concurred with the House of Representatives on September 12, 2013 just days before the climax of the second session of the 53rd Liberian legislature. Since the draft budget was passed and submitted to President Johnson-Sirleaf, the Liberian leader is yet to sign it (draft budget) into law.
Making the disclosure on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 on Coffee Break on UNMIL Radio, House Spokesman, Isaac G. Redd, stated that there have been "growing concerns" not only from the House of Representatives, but from many Liberians.
He averred that Liberians are concerned about while the budget has not taken effect since it was submitted to the President a little over three weeks.
Speaking further, Mr. Redd pointed out that the leadership of the lower house has been meeting to discuss the draft national budget before the president, the Decent Work Bill, the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and the New Petroleum Law of Liberia.
The 32-member leadership of the House comprises of the Speakers, Chairman and Co-Chairs of Statutory Committees.
He disclosed that the meetings of the leadership also centered on administrative issues, including the proper usage of the County Development Funds (CDFs), adding that, "there are growing concerns over the mismanagement of the CDFs and so, the lawmakers are concerned."
Despite the annual agriculture break of the legislature, the leadership of the House of Representatives remains active to elaborate on key national and administrative issues involving the legislature and the government in general, the House Spokesman further disclosed.
"There are growing concerns over the national budget that has not been signed by the President. The lawmakers have been meeting to discuss how do they approach their constituents when in fact, the budget has not been signed. Also, there are couples of laws that have not been enacted. Permanent among them are the act to amend certain portion of the NOCAL act, the Decent Work Bill, the Petroleum and Exploration Law of Liberia and the Code of Conduct," Mr. Redd emphasized.
The House spokesperson continued: "There have also been growing concerns from Liberians calling on their lawmakers why has the budget not coming to effect. You know the budget drives our national development programs and it is a very key instrument that speaks to the Agenda for Transformation. I am very sure that by the 20th or 15th of October the President will be in the position to sign the budget."
Meanwhile, President Johnson-Sirleaf is currently abroad on a state visit. She is expected in the country on October 9.