Ahead of Constituency Break Next Week, Lawmakers Asked to Approve Key Proposed Legislations

UNIFICATION CITY, Margibi – Less than two weeks to the annual constituency break for members of the legislature, President o has urged lawmakers to pass key proposed legislation he considers relevant to accelerating national growth and development.

According to the Executive Mansion, Weah made the comments during a two-day presidential-legislative retreat held during the weekend at the Farmington Hotel in Margibi.

He said amending certain constitutional provisions and other legislation was critical to the enhancement of national development.

Weah said some of the proposed legislation would require amendments to the constitution, which, according to him, came out of the national constitutional review process that began under the administration of his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

“You will recall that the former constitutional review process was initiated by my predecessor, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2012 when she appointed the Constitutional Review Committee, with the specific mandate, including the review of the constitution to identify unhealthy provisions and determine whether they required amendments and to draft proposals to such amendments,” the president was quoted as saying.

Following a national review of the 1986 constitution, Sirleaf submitted a list of 25 propositions for the national legislature to decide upon for a national referendum.

Although the Executive Mansion did not detail the specific legislations the president wants approved, some of the propositions arising from the previous constitution review process were to provide for dual citizenship; to reduce the tenures of senators, representatives, and the president; and to establish a Regional Intermediary Appellate Court.

“We cannot execute some major projects to develop our country if the National Legislature does not ratify the agreements or contracts before them,” Weah said.

He further reminded the lawmakers that the country could lose the huge amount of offshore monies intended for budgetary support in the current draft budget for fiscal year 2019/20 if they delayed the passage of certain legislation, such as the Trade Facilitation Agreement and Power Theft bills, among others.

During the close of the retreat, members of the legislature who were in attendance accepted the president’s appeal to act on bills before them in a timely manner. However, the legislature is due to close for its annual agricultural break next week.

The law requires that the legislature close its official session on August 30 and resume on the second working Monday in January of the ensuing year.

However, the president has the power to extend the session beyond the date for adjournment or call for a special extraordinary session to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern.

Already, Weah’s push for an amendment of the constitution to abolish by-elections for senators and representatives is receiving a mixed reaction from the public.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2018, he was also recognized as the Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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