Heritage (Monrovia)

Liberia: UP Speaks On CBL Amended Act

The governing Unity Party (UP) through its Secretary General, Mr. Wilmot Paye, has called for "more healthy debates void of personal sentiments" amongst Liberians in the ongoing discussion of the amended act that created the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).

On Tuesday, February 18, 2014, the House of Representatives concurred with the Senate in passing the amended CBL Act, amid heated debate and public outcry.

Among other things, the amended CBL Act prevents the Executive Governor of the CBL and members of the Board of Governors from contesting political offices, while serving in their respective offices.

The reasons for the amendment of the CBL Act, according to the framers, include: gross breach of duty, misconduct in office, conviction for felony and being declared bankrupt, among others. The Amended Act has to be endorsed by the President before it becomes law.

But some Liberians have described the reasons provided by the Legislature as a "calculated ploy" intended to 'witch-hunt' a specific individual at the CBL, an assertion majority of the lawmakers reject. Majority members of the House of Representatives said it was necessary that they urgently pass the Act without delay because it is in the interest of the country and its people.

On the other hand, the minority lawmakers, including the Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, Representative Julius Berrian, expressed serious disappointment over the manner and form in which the amended CBL Act was fast tracked. Among other things, Rep. Berrian averred that they (minority lawmakers) were denied expressing opposition against what they called the speedy passage of the document. According to Mr. Paye, Liberians must not be "unreasonable and emotional" in discussing the amended act of the CBL.

He said the bill must be debated from a "holistic" point of view.

When quizzed to give his party position on the CBL amended act, the UP chief scribe stated that Liberians now need to know the "rationale" behind the bill and what it (bill) hopes to achieve.

"Our position is that, we need to have an open mind as a country to debate the issue." He pointed out.

Mr. Page continued: "We need to embrace new ideas; find out and ask some basic questions. Do we need amendment to the CBL act? Do we need to approach it in a more holistic manner? Are there best practices that we can relate to around the world? We should not just be unreasonable in debating this issue.

What we need to do is to ask all of these questions with the realization that what we want should be the best for our country. Those of us who are taking part in the debate; we should have open minds. We should not be looking at the individuals behind a particular process."

The UP SG among other things added: "We should not draw into it sentiment that will look like this is against a particular group of people or individual. Was it motivated by the desire to suppress somebody's rights like what critics are saying? So, as a party we are saying we need healthy national debates that are void of personal sentiments."

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