11 May 2018

Liberia: Weah Gets Tough

Photo: Le Pays
George Weah.

President George Weah has recalled several concession agreements from the Legislature on grounds that they don't meet the standards and not in the best interest of Liberia and its people.

Those agreements recalled by President Weah are Dangote Cement Liberia Ltd, TIDFORE/(LICEMCO), Nimba Rubber Incorporated Inc., Liberia Traffic Management Inc. and Amendment to the amended firestone agreement.

"Honorable Pro-Tempore, I hereby recall these agreements from the legislature for reassessment by the National Investment Commission (NIC) to enable them meet fully procedural and substantive requirements, as well as value-for-money test, to assert the benefit of the Liberian people before possible resubmission to the legislature," President Weah said in a communication to the Liberian Senate.

According to a communication sent to the Liberian Senate dated May 7, 2018, President Weah said his decision to recall those concession agreements was as a result of the findings from the special Presidential concession review committee submitted to him.

It can be recalled the Liberian leader upon taking over as President of Liberia setup a special committee to review all concession agreements in the country.

This move by President Weah was intended to assess and ascertain whether all concession agreements were in compliance with the procedural and substantive requirements of Liberian law and to also evaluate the justification including benefits to the Liberian people and the nation for the tax and other incentives granted.

According to the committee's report as being quoted by the President's communication to that august body, the legal requirements in those agreements were not fully adhered to.

"For examples several provisions of the amended Public Procurement and Concession Act of 2010 were violated," the President highlighted in his communication to the Liberian Senate.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Republic of Liberia furthered "all categories of tax relief (import, GST, turnover, presumptive, fuel and gasoline, withholdings on interest, dividends and third parties service, etc.) were either partially or fully granted to the concessionaires without any showing of measurable benefits to Liberia and its citizen."

President Weah indicated within his communication to the Liberian Senate that most of the agreements seem not to have been meticulously prepared, thus, there are numbers of avoidable typos and misinformation, while exhibits reference in the agreements were not attached.

Meanwhile, the plenary of the Liberian Senate which is the highest decision-making body has with immediate effect granted the Liberian leader's request following a motion made by former President Pro-Tempore, Armah Jallah of Gbarpolu county.

"Madam Vice President and President of the Liberian Senate, members of the Liberian Senate, I move if I can obtain a second that the President letter be received and the request made be granted," Senator Jallah moved.

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