14 January 2014

Liberia: House Seeks Additional U.S.$73 Million

Members of the House of Representative are said to be seeking an additional US$73 million in the 2014/2015 national budget to be divided among the country's 73 districts, with unconfirmed reports that such funds will be managed by them.

Speaking at the opening of the 3rd session of the 53rd Legislature Monday, House Speaker Alex Tyler said the amount will be used for developmental purposes within the districts, suggesting that each district will be allotted US1million.He said such amount when allotted will spur direct district impact projects

"These projects are essential to the welfare of the people, and as government, we shall employ the diligence and energy in every waking hour to see each project to its completion," Tyler said.

The amount, Tyler added, would be separate and distinct from the County Development Fund, emphasizing that this is one of the ways much needed development can reach and impact people in rural Liberia.

He said an amount of US$5 million was allotted in the current 2013/14 national budget for 'district direct impact projects' to be implemented through the Executive, adding that this was the first time since independence some of the beneficiary districts had ever felt the influence of their government with funding through public fund.

Speaker Tyler said the need to seek such allotment in the coming budget is as a result of feedbacks received from the recent oil consultation counties tour during which time the legislative team experience three cardinal conditions facing the Liberians, especially in the leeward counties- deplorable roads and bridges, poor health delivery system and schools lacking the most basic facilities which would qualify them to bear the name school.

He noted that some of the conditions of the places visited were so appalling that the plight of the people could not go unnoticed.

"I can openly confess to you, having toured throughout the towns and villages during the consultations for the oil and gas sector, that, in my candid opinion previous budgets, in which appropriations were made for infrastructures including schools, roads, and clinics- those budgets, have not significantly impacted the rural parts of the country," he lamented.

Meanwhile, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf urged members of the 53rd Liberian Legislature to show what she calls 'love and respect' to their fellow colleagues. The Liberian leader said "since you have resume work from your break, it is your full responsibility to always listen to whatever that will be said by your colleagues".

According to her, "we all must have respect and cooperation with in the three branches of government so as to maintain the peace in this country."

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