Liberia: CSDF Bill to Be Passed Soon

-says Rep. Younquoi

Nimba County District#8 Representative Larry P. Younquoi has assured the public and supporters of the County Social Development Fund (CSDF) or Stand Alone Law that the draft bill will soon be enacted into law by the legislature.

Members of the House's Joint Committee on Ways, Means and Finance and Judiciary are currently scrutinizing the Act to establish the National County Social Development Fund (CSDF) or 'Stand Alone Law.' The bill was introduced recently by lawmaker Younquoi.

According to a press release, Representative Younquoi, also Chairman of the House of Representatives' Committee on Good Governance, told the press that the draft Stand Alone bill is expected to be passed into law along with the 2019/2020 draft fiscal budget.

According to him, proper review and consultations have been done on the bill. He stressed that stakeholders have been made to understand the aim and objective of the bill.

During the March 8, 2019 public hearing on Capitol Hill, Representative Thomas P. Fallah, who chaired the joint committee informed representatives from three Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as well as those representing the USAID-sponsored Liberia Accountability Voice Initiative (LAVI) that the draft law will lessen the political involvement of the lawmakers, who have the constitutional mandate to make laws, including the appropriation of funds in the budget. Their involvement has made the fiscal budget a political instrument, including lined items, such as the County Development Fund (CDF).

"As chairman of the Joint Committee, I am not convinced, for instance, the law is minimizing political involvement. We need more time for consultations, because the law needs broader participation," Rep. Fallah said during the hearing.

The stipulation of the CDF for each county is US$200,000 in the fiscal budget, and the Social Development Fund (SDF) involves payments emanating from concession agreements.The CSDF Law is designed to avoid political influence, and encourage citizens' participation in economic and fiscal decision-making.

Since the allotment of the County Social Development Fund is rooted in the national budget, Representative Younquoi averred that it has been discussed with some amendment that the bill should be enacted along with the national budget.

He informed the media in an interview last week that the allotment will first hit national account and later be transferred to the County's account for its usage.The bill has over fifteen representatives and several civil society organizations as co-sponsors.

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