President Ellen Johnson
Pres. Sirleaf Vetoes Legislature Financial Autonomy Bill
By Wilfred Gortor
MONROVIA, September 19 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson has with immediate effect vetoed a Bill seeking to grant financial autonomy to the National Legislature.
President Sirleaf said the Bill, which seeks to give broad financial autonomy to the Legislature, was rejected on grounds that the body already enjoys a certain level of autonomy as funds are transferred periodically to it.
The Liberian leader also said that the management of funds has to be done according to financial rules, something which, she said, the Legislature itself has endorsed and enacted into law.
She said Monday in a communication addressed to Deputy House Speaker and Presiding Officer, Hans Barchue, that the Bill was vetoed because the Legislature has not subjected itself to an audit that would scrutinize the structure and performance of its existing financial management system.
Introduced in the Liberian Senate on Tuesday, June 28, the Financial Autonomy Bill was passed by that body on Thursday, June 30, a day after it was presented by Bong County Senator Jewel Taylor.
The Bill, which was subsequently concurred with by the House of Representatives weeks later, was intended to grant the Legislature an authority similar to that of the Executive and Judiciary branches of government to exercise autonomy, thus “experiencing leverage, latitude and decisiveness in decision-making and program implementation.”
It among other things sought to also grant each House of the Legislature the power to have a finance section headed by a Director of Finance who will work in consultation with the head of the secretariats of both Houses for the efficient administration of the Legislative budget as enshrined in the bill.
But President Sirleaf, among other reasons for vetoing the Bill, said that amidst the volume of financial transactions being conducted until now, the Legislature, still has not establish an appropriate financial management control system to show financial and managerial accountability.
Meanwhile, the House has forwarded the Bill and all the notations made by President Sirleaf to its committees on Ways, Means and Finance and Judiciary for scrutiny with the mandate to advise the body on Thursday.