..Vows to Establish Office of Ombudsman

Monrovia-Jan-30-TNR: President Joseph N. Boakai has assured Liberians of his government’s commitment to enforcing the implementation of the Code of Conduct.  

According to the Liberian President, the passage of the Code of Conduct for public officials has not had the full effect of the Law.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday in the Joint Chamber of the Capitol Building, President Boakai emphasized that there was a major hurdle which is the lack of ‘implementation infrastructure.’ “To this end, there is a need to establish the Office of the Ombudsman.”

When established according to the Liberian leader, the office will supervise the enforcement of all provisions of the Code of Conduct and will also impose sanctions for infractions.

Demonstrating his commitment to fully implementing such vision, President Boakai asserted that his government would begin the appointing of individuals to the Ombudsman something other administrations did not enforce.

“We must begin looking at appointing an individual with the requisite moral standing to head and run the office,” he noted.

Speaking on the issue of reforms in government by his leadership, the Liberian President highlighted the passage of the National Tourism Bill which he described as one of the major recommendations that came out of the mandate and functional review of the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism was the need to divest culture and tourism from the Ministry of Information.”

According to him, a National Tourism Bill has since been sent to the Legislature with a first public hearing, noting that improving tourism is one of the pillars of the ARREST Agenda.

“We will work with the Legislature on the status of this Bill pending necessary actions to complete this process. Once passed, Liberia will have a National Tourism Authority mandated to draw up regulations and the appropriate governing framework for the tourism sector,” the Liberian leader said.

Commenting on the justice system, President Boakai added, “Our justice system which is meant to protect the innocent and punish the guilty, has been marred by inefficiency, corruption, and lack of public trust. I am counting on this honorable Body to pass effective legislation and support financial appropriations that will help us win the fight against corruption. Anyone caught in the act of corruption will face the full weight of the law, with swift and non-discriminatory enforcement.”

On the issue of Civil Service, President Boakai noted that there are an estimated 70,000 employees, including appointed officials, in the Government of Liberia. he said this commands a total wage of over US$300 million annually.

“This growth in the size of the government has not been proportional to the growth in revenue and the efficiency and effectiveness of the government. This means that wage continues to consume a sizeable portion of the total budget, strangulating service delivery and all initiatives and obligations of the government. So, the government faces a situation of stunted growth and non-investment in the lives of the people.”

He said to make the government more effective and efficient, his administration must focus on public service deliveries noting, “The people, not the government, must come first.”

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