Liberia: Pres. Weah Signs 2 'Critical' Acts Into Law

-- Power Theft and National Remuneration Standardization

Towards promoting equity in public sector management and curbing unwholesome practices which undermine the economic viability of critical national entities, President George Weah has signed into law two "important" acts passed recently by the Legislature, an Executive Mansion release said.

On October 4, 2019, the President signed into law an Act to amend the Penal Law Chapter 15 by adding thereto a new section 15.88 to provide for "Power Theft" and An Act to Establish the National Remuneration Standardization (NRS) of 2019.

The Second Session of the 54th Legislature recently passed the two Acts before recessing for its Annual Break, to be able to return to their respective constituencies.

The Power Theft Act, according to the release, was introduced by the Executive Branch, through the office of the president, in the wake of increasing theft of electricity through illegal connections, tampering with meters, transmission and distribution lines as well as theft of assets, including light poles, wires and transformers.

Until the passage of the Act, power theft remained the most singular challenge to the operations and maintenance of an effective public utility system.

The purpose of this Act is to establish a system of prohibitions and penalties, to deal with theft of electricity for which government's intervention and protection is appropriate. The provisions of the New Section are intended to recognize and treat power theft as a national security threat; define adequately the various conduct which constitutes Power Theft and to prescribe penalties which are proportionate to the seriousness of the offense.

To reduce power theft would inevitably translate into reduced tariff and thus incentive investment and economic development.

Also, the National Remuneration Standardization Act of 2019 is aimed at ensuring that salaries, allowances and benefits across government are uniformed and equitable for work done, to ensure that the inequality gap in government is narrowed and controlled to the extent that public resources are managed properly and efficiently.

The Standardization Act is to ensure that the Compensation Budget of the country is realistic from time to time and remains efficiently and economically sustainable so as to ensure that resources are properly targeted to a vast majority of the population, and to give Liberia confidence amongst its international partners and the comity of nations.

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