By: Jonathan O. Grigsby, Snr., Contributor
MONROVIA-The Internal Affairs Ministry (MIA), Governance Commission (GC) and partners are appealing to members of the legislature to amend portions of the Local Government Act (LGA) of Liberia.
The portions have to do with the two revenue instruments under the Local Government Act (LGA) of 2018.
Their appeal was made in the Port City of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County at a two-day engagement with relevant committee of the legislature on the revenue sharing bill recently passed, and harmonization of other decentralization-related instruments.
The two instruments, according to Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Research and Development Planning, Olayee Collins are the Liberia Revenue Code Act of 2011 and the Public Financial Management Act of 2019.
Minister Collins said they are appealing to members of the House of Representatives to make the amendments of 2011 Liberia Revenue Code and 2019 Public Financial Management Acts.
The first Amendment states: “An Act to amend the Liberia Revenue Code 2011 as amended (Revenue Code), thereby amending sections 7, 10, 2003, 2005, 2101, and 2115 to enable Fiscal Decentralization as contemplated by the Local Government Act of 2018 (LGA) as known as Local Government Tax and Revenue Act of 2021. Amending the Liberia Revenue Code of 2011 as previously amended (most recently) in 2016”.
For amendment two: “ An Act amend the Amendment and Restatement of the Public Financial Management Act of 2019 (PFM Law) of the Republic of Liberia, thereby Amending sections 2, 4, 5, 6, 8A, 8B, 10, 14, 35, 36, and 45 to enable Fiscal Decentralization as contemplated by the Local Government Act for 2018 (LGA). As known as the Amending the PFM Law of 2021 to enable fiscal Decentralization as contemplated by the Local government’s Act of 2018”.
The two agencies and partners’ appeal was read by Minister Collins in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County over the weekend at a two-day engagement with a relevant committee of the legislature on the revenue sharing bill recently passed and harmonization of other decentralization-related instruments.
The two engagements organized by the Internal Affairs Ministry with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) brought together Senate and House’s Committees on Ways, Means and Finance, Internal Affairs, Good Governance, and Reconciliation.
Minister Collins then thanked members of the legislature for the passing of the Revenue Sharing Bill, which was signed into Act, by President George M. Weah.
The Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Research and Development Planning indicated that all components that have to do with legislations of the Local Government Act (LGA) need to be prioritized because decentralization will definitely speed up development across Liberia.
Minister Collins: “Evidence has shown that countries around the globe which adopted decentralization program are today fast developing of which Liberia is no exception”.
Also speaking, Bong County Senator, Prince Moye, vowed that members of the Liberian Senate will work with their colleagues in the Lower House to ensure two instruments relating to the Local Government Act become a reality.
But Senator Moye also stressed: “They will work in line with the Liberian Constitution to ensure the right things are done when it comes to Local Government Act”.
He said both Houses of the Legislature are cognizant of the vital role the Local Government Act will play in the development of Liberia as they support the relevant government’s entities and partners in that endeavor.
Senator Moye, who is also Senate Chair on Ways, Means and Finance clarified that there is no conflict between both Houses when it comes to the two instruments of the Local Government Act. Also, Sinoe County Representative Matthew Zarzar called for the full implementation of the Local Government Act (LGA).
The LGA focuses on the decentralization of government activities at the local levels, which has to do with revenue sharing and harmonization, among others.
According to Sinoe County Representative Zanzar, the only way the Act can be implemented is by the political will and that is from the Executive Branch Government which will ensure that all necessary things are put into place.
He also pledged the Lower House’s support to work with relevant government ministries and agencies to ensure that the act benefits the dwellers in the leeward counties.
“We have played our parts and we will be sitting in our corners watching to see how you will go forwards with what has been passed into law”, Representative Zanzar concluded his remarks.
The engagement was attended by Senators Wellington Geevon Smith, Conmany Wesseh, Steve Zargo, Gblegbo Browne, Daniel Naanten, Jonathan Boye Charles Sogboe Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence, Jonathan Kaipay of Rivercess, River Gee, Lofa, Maryland, Gbarpolu, and Grand Bassa Counties respectively; while the Representatives included Byron Zahnwea, Ivan Jones, Francis Dopoh, P. Mike Jury, Dorwohn Gleekai and Matthew Zarzar.