LIBERIA – Mr. George Manneh Weah, the President of Liberia has introduced a number of legislations to see that his Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) sees the light of day. This was made known during his second State of the Nation Address presented at the end of January.
The President disclosed that bills to be sent to the Legislature for ratification include an Act to Ratify and Authorize the government the Payment of tuition fees for all undergraduate students in all public universities and colleges; the national youth Act; The Liberia Technical Vocational Education and Training Commission Act and the Revised Liberian Bank for Development and Investment Act.
Others are the Act to Ratify the Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and Fouta Corporation, Act Ratifying the Agreement for the Establishment of the Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK) and an Act to Amend the Revenue Code of Liberia to reform Excise Tax Law (2018).
President Weah also announced a proposed amendment to extend the time required to renew Resident Permits. He said there would be a change for the renewal of the resident permit of the people who have lived in the country for 30 to 50 years. The President said those who resided in the country for five years or more, without a criminal record, will be eligible under the proposed amendment to be issued resident permit.
“The amendment proposed, will also allow permit holders to no longer be required to obtain permits to re-enter the country,” he announced. “We will also look into revising the requirement for annual renewal of work permits for a longer period.” And Visa-upon-Arrival program, as well as the issuance of Tourist Visas would be introduced.
These bills will serve as addendums to the bills he had sent and passed into law by the National Legislature in the first year of his presidency.
They include an Act to Ratify the Financing Agreement to provide additional financing for the West African Power Pool, the Local Government Act of 2018 and an Act to Establish the Land Rights Law of 2018.
President Weah said these legislations would help smoothen and enhance efforts toward accomplishing the PAPD launched October 29, 2018 with the aim to give power to the people, better the economy, create jobs, sustain the peace and improve governance and transparency.
“The overall objective of the PAPD and its ultimate goal is to lift our people from poverty to prosperity,” the President explained.
The President however extolled the national legislature for the critical support and cooperation rendered in passing into law 26 bills that are relevant to the PAPD.
President Weah said his administration would place emphasis on the Agriculture sector as major impetus for economic revitalization.
“As we kick-start the infrastructure part of the PADP through road construction, we also want to place a new emphasis on agriculture,” he said.
He however bemoaned the minute returns realized from the enormous investments put into Agriculture, stressing, “This will have to change.”
“Our international partners will agree with me that endless national and foreign resources have been and continue to be poured into Agriculture yet the returns from these investments are almost negligible.”
The Liberian leader vowed to allot the same effort, time and energy allotted to road projects, to agriculture development.
He said, “I will directly get involved in the programs and practical implementation of agriculture development.”
President Weah who says the Agriculture sector accounts for more than seventy percent (70%) of household earnings, indicated that the PAPD can only be sustainably achieved through agriculture.
“We will craft new practical and realistic agriculture policies, give incentive to the sector by providing access to credit, reducing tariffs on agriculture implements, and provide small machines, modern seeds and fertilizers,” he said.
He reiterated that Liberia is open for business, and that the private sector will be given priority under his administration.