Monrovia — FrontPageAfrica has reliably learned that the United States Government has suspended the spending authority of the Millennium Challenge Account-Liberia (MCAL) due to President George Weah's failure to adhere to a diplomatic note warning against the nomination of Mr. Toga Nimley as chairman of the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission is part of the Millennium Challenge Compact support to reform the electricity sector. It was created by the New Electricity Law of Liberia passed by the National Legislature in 2015. Specifically, the Compact supports the standing up of the LERC. The compact pays salaries for LERC staff, procures office space, equipment and furniture. LERC will develop guidelines for electricity suppliers that guarantee health, safety and environmental standards in supplying electricity to homes and communities. It will review and monitor the safety standards of electricity supply.
But with such huge investment by the U.S. government into that body, FPA gathered that Uncle Sam expressed his disapproval of Atty. Nimley as Chairman, citing his performance and comportment. However, according to reports, President Weah ignored the red flag and went ahead nominating him to replace Aloysius J. Tarlue who was nominated and subsequently confirmed as Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia.
FrontPageAfrica further gathered that despite the word of caution from the U.S. government and the withholding of funds from the entity which has left employees unpaid, Atty. Togar is still pushing for an early confirmation by the Senate.
According to information gathered, the U.S. government will continue to withhold funding from the Commission until the nomination is withdrawn.
In September 2019, the Millennium Challenge Account Liberia (MCA-L) equipped the LERC with vehicles and office materials worth over US$193,000, as part of ongoing support to stand up the regulator.
At a turnover ceremony on September 10, MCA-L presented to the LERC, a range of equipment including a video-conferencing system, printers, laptops, presentation screens, along with three Ford Everest utility vehicles.
A key goal of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact for Liberia is to promote economic growth through access to reliable and affordable electricity.
More on the LERC
LERC is also mandated to issue licenses to electricity suppliers, making sure suppliers meet all requirements of quality supply and services and set prices for electricity, not the suppliers themselves. One other key function of the LERC is that it gives voice to electricity customers. They will participate in managing the electricity sector by consulting with LERC and advising on issues affecting them. Customers, for the first time in Liberia, will have an independent forum, the LERC to file complaints against electricity suppliers for any wrong. LERC will also support efforts to fight power theft by arresting and prosecuting anyone using electricity without paying the bill.