The Executive Director Movement against Bad Labor Practice & Bad Governance in Liberia, Mr. Anthony F. Williams, has strongly recommended the remover of lawmakers as major players of County Social Development Funds (CSDF) to avoid unnecessary delay for county sitting.
A Press release signed by the movement indicated that the budget law, which gives legislative, caucus Chairpersons or co-chairs the power to chair CDF or CSDF amongst others, is the tragedy for the underdevelopment of counties in Liberia.
The release said in the past, the local leaders were the one taking charge of the chairperson’s position of the CDF or CSDF meetings to enable the people or participants talk freely and contribute without fear, he said adding that with this new law in which a lawmaker, especially the chairman of their Legislative Caucus, is the chairperson of the Council Meeting, there are fears of expressions and inputs into the discussion due to the way the caucus chairpersons conduct their activities.
“The amended Section 9 (nine) of the 2018/2019 Budget Law, which says the County Council of the County Social Development Fund (CSDF) shall be presided over by the Legislative Caucus Chairman or Co-chairman should be harshly condemned and criticized by all well-meaning citizens who believe in the developmental agenda of Liberia and their respective counties,” Mr. Williams added.
He maintained, “The new Budget law under which a Legislator is the presiding officer in the meeting to distribute or allocate the county’s money is wrong and is a complete conflict of interest and a suppression of the indigenous views to make tangible input that will overturn the lawmakers’ political allocation or priorities.
According to him, “From my experience in the CDF/CSDF meetings attended in my county and other counties, lawmakers always dictating to the common people, and have more say rather than the people for whom the money is intended to benefit.
Hear Mer. Williams: Before this new Political Budget Law came into effects, the chairperson, Assistant chair, and two recording secretaries of the Council Sitting were elected by and among the accredited delegates, and seated the indigenous (common people), once the people know that one of them is the chairperson, they were able to talk freely, and contribute without fear to the discussion of allocation and reallocation of priorities in the CDF/CSDF sitting.
But he said with this new egoistic law, in which a political lawmaker with a parochial interest, especially the chairman of their Legislative Caucus, is the chairperson of the Council Meeting, the people are afraid to freely express their views and also make their inputs.
Another Standard Protocol and Agenda in the budget law for formal Sitting, which he pointed out is always violated by lawmakers of the Counties Council Sitting process, is the refusal by them to make the agenda public to enable delegates adequately prepared and be informed of discussion points prior to the meeting.
“Am strongly suggesting that the County’s Money should be taken from the hands of the Legislators to promote accountability and transparency as well as eradicate conflict of interest and political allocation,” the release signed by the executive director concluded.