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Saturday, July 20, 2024

LIBERIAN LEGISLATOR URGES SPEAKER KOFFA TO AVOID WASTEFUL SPENDING AMIDST ECONOMIC CRISIS

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Liberia, one of the poorest countries in the world, has continually struggled to build its economy. This struggle intensifies the scrutiny of government expenditures, especially when significant amounts are spent on ceremonies. Recently, this was evident in the highly controversial Senate retreat held in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, where reportedly over US$700,000 was spent without clear explanations from the leadership of Pro Tempore Madam Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence.

In light of this, as the House of Representatives plans its own retreat, a member of that body, Representative Frank Saah Foko, Jr. of District #9 Montserrado County, has issued a precautionary warning to his colleagues. In a letter dated Monday, June 17, 2024, addressed to Speaker Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, Rep. Foko urged careful consideration to avoid wasteful expenditures.

Rep. Foko’s letter highlighted the need for prudence, noting the controversial nature of the recent Senate retreat, which he acknowledged as a necessary step but untimely given the current state of the nation’s affairs. He pointed out that Grand Bassa County, where the retreat was held, lacks basic infrastructure such as proper roads, bridges to connect districts, adequate medical supplies at the Liberian Government Hospital, and support for teachers and students at public schools.

“The whooping figures being propagated in various quarters of the media and country remain very troubling,” Rep. Foko wrote, cautioning the House of Representatives to avoid a similar situation that could lead to public embarrassment. He called on Speaker Koffa and his colleagues to re-examine anything that would seem extravagant for a few days’ retreat, suggesting that resources should instead be directed toward sectors in dire need in the harsh economy.

Rep. Foko argued that there is no emergency for a retreat when the University of Liberia faces transportation crises, and JFK Hospital lacks medical supplies. He emphasized that legislative priorities should align with the pressing needs of the people, such as improving basic social services, addressing transportation issues following the Executive’s decision to control motorcyclists, and ensuring that healthcare facilities are adequately stocked.

“The Liberian people elected us for remarkable transformation in basic social services, and we can’t at any point let them down,” Rep. Foko asserted. He urged his colleagues to change course and address critical issues immediately or hold responsible agencies accountable under their oversight responsibility.

Rep. Foko warned that ignoring these issues could lead to chaos, citing potential protests by UL teachers and health workers in Lofa threatening to go slow. He called on the Legislature to stand in the gap for the people and save the country from poor leadership and failed promises due to a lack of political will.

“Please Hon. Speaker and colleagues, accept the assurances of my highest esteem and consideration,” Rep. Foko concluded, emphasizing the urgent need for responsible leadership and prudent use of public funds.

However, this call for accountability and prudent spending stresses the broader concerns about governance and economic management in the country. With mounting public scrutiny, the House of Representatives faces significant pressure to demonstrate its commitment to addressing the country’s most pressing needs and ensuring transparency in its operations.

Socrates Smythe Saywon
Socrates Smythe Saywon is a Liberian journalist. You can contact me at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or reach out via email at saywonsocrates@smartnewsliberia.com or saywonsocrates3@gmail.com.

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