President Johnson-Sirleaf Urges Legislature
By Hilary Vasco Wiagbe
MONROVIA, Jan 28 (LINA) -President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has urged the 53rd National Legislature to consider the passage of bills that have been submitted to it, but still remain under deliberation in committee rooms.
She referred to bills that would amend the Penal Code by providing for the Criminal Conveyance of Land, the Act establishing the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to provide for immediate Direct Prosecutorial Powers and the New Executive Law of 1972, to establish the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
She told the Legislature to consider repealing Chapter 60 of the Executive Law creating the John F. Kennedy Medical Center and replace it with a new Chapter 60 to be titled The John F. Kennedy Medical Center Act (2013).
According to the Liberia News Agency (LINA), President Johnson-Sirleaf’s statements were contained in her ninth State of the Nation address delivered Monday to the 53rd National Legislature on the theme: “Consolidating the Processes of Transformation,” at the Capitol Building in Monrovia.
The Liberian leader also stressed the need for the lawmakers to pass the bill to amend the Telecommunications Act of 2007 with respect to the Liberia Telecommunications Authority, and Title 21 of the Liberian Code of Laws of 1956 to update the provisions of the Maritime Law and Maritime regulations to implement the Maritime Labor Convention 2006.
The President further named bills already submitted and awaiting the Legislature’s ratification as the Instrument of Accession to the World Custom Organization and the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Custom Procedures, and the Financing Agreement for the Health Systems Strengthening Project between the government and the International Development Association.
Others include the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, the Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Importation and the Control of Hazardous Wastes in Africa, the Constitution of the African Civil Aviation Commission, the Charter of the Africa Finance Corporation and the African Union Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
The African Union Non-Aggression and Common Defense Pact, the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating for Terrorism, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and the Convention on the African Energy Commission, are some of the bills President Sirleaf wants ratified by the Legislature.
She also called on the Legislature to ratify bills on the OAU Convention for the Elimination of Mercenarism in Africa, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement and the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced persons.
At the same time, the Liberian Leader has said she intends to submit several new bills to the 53rd National Legislature for passage into law.
They include a bill to ratify the Loan Agreement between the National Port Authority and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development for the Port of Greenville Rehabilitation Project, a bill to amend the Judiciary Law to create Criminal Court “F” of the First Judicial Circuit, Montserrado County and Special Divisions of the Circuit Courts of other counties to have exclusive original jurisdiction over corruption and related economic financial crimes and a bill to ratify the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
According to the President, other bills she intends to submit to the Lawmakers are a bill to amend the Executive Law, Charter 22, on the Ministry of Justice, Subchapter F, to strengthen the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency, a new Controlled Drug and Substances Act, a bill to establish the Rubber Development Fund to mobilize financial resources to regenerate the rubber sector, a bill to establish a Securities Market in Liberia and a new Local Government Act in harmony with national policies designed to more efficiently render services in a decentralized manner.
Other bills are an amendment to the Public Health Law to add a new Chapter on Mental Health, an amendment to the Civil Procedure Law on Special Proceeding Concerning Mentally Disabled and Legally Incompetent Persons to be titled the “Mental Health Procedural Act”, a new law for regulating insurance to be titled the Insurance Act (2014), an amendment to the Charter of the University of Liberia, an amendment to the 1989 Act Creating the National Commission on Higher Education and a bill to establish the Liberia National Tourism Authority.
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has commended the 53rd National Legislature for its cooperation in passing into law several legislations relevant to the reconstruction process of the country, adding that records show that 46 bills were passed and received during the 2nd Session of the 53rd Legislature.
She said the ratified bills include the Mount Coffee Hydro-Generation Rehabilitation Finance Contract between the Government of Liberia and the European Investment Bank and the International Development Association for the West Africa Power Pool plus the Act ratifying the Treaty for the Construction, Operation and Development of the Interconnection Lines joining Cote d’lvoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
President Johnson-Sirleaf noted that these bills will lead to the rebuilding and expansion of generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity, providing an economic stimulus of widespread effect.
She said an economic boost is also expected from the passage of the Act ratifying the Loan Agreement between the government and the African Development Bank, and between the government and the African Development Fund, which will give Liberia a paved highway along the critical corridor connecting Harper and Karloken, Maryland County.