Monrovia - Who to chair the Ways, Means, and Finance Committee of the House of Representatives has been a debate for a week.
Controversy over whom to be named Chairman was a big fight amongst lawmakers especially those from the ruling Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC).
According to legislative sources, as part of the deal between the former ruling party (Unity Party) and the present ruling party, that made Representative Bhofal Chambers Speaker, committees were allotted base on party line. As such, the Committee on Ways, Means and Finance was set aside for the CDC but who to be appointed to take the post has been a challenge for the Speaker.
Speaker Chambers Tuesday, January 23rd made additional appointments to Statutory and Standing Committees. He made the appointments on the fourth-day sitting of that body.
Those appointed included Reps. Thomas P. Fallah, Chairman on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning and Rep. Jeremiah Koung, Co-Chairman, Ways, Means Finance and Development Planning. On the Information, Broadcasting, and Tourism Committee, Rep. Jay Nagbe Sloh was made Chairman with Rep. Beyan Howard as his Co-Chair.
Former Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue was made Chairman on Modernization along with Rep. Rustonlyn S. Dennis Co-Chairing the Committee.
Other appointments also made by the Speaker included Rep. Julie Fatorma Wiah, Chairman on Gender and Child Development and Rep. Emerson Kamara as her Co-Chair.
At the same time, Reps. Hans Barchue and Alex Grant have been appointed Chairman and Co-Chairman to represent Liberia at the Pan African Parliamentary Union along with Rep. Julie Fotoma Wiah as a member.
Recently, Speaker Chambers in consultation with Deputy Speaker Prince Moye appointed Reps. Munah Pelham-Youngblood and Acarous Gray as Chairman and Co-Chairman on Executive, while Reps. Fonati Koffa and Kaine Wesso as Chairman and Co-Chair on Judiciary while Reps. Edwin Snowe and Crayton Duncan were appointed Chairman and Co-Chair on Foreign Affairs.
Other names include Reps. Alfred Koiwood and Samuel Kogar, Chairman and Co-Chair on National Security, Reps. Edward Karfiah and Clarence Gahr, Chairman and Co-Chair on Public Accounts and Expenditures amongst others.
Meanwhile, in the Tuesday, January 23rd session, Speaker Dr. Chambers inducted Reps. Joseph M. Matthew, Jr, Gbarpolu County District # 3 and Clarence K. Massaquoi of Electoral District # 3 Lofa County as members of the House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature.
The Speaker administered the ‘Oath of Affirmation’ based on two separate communications from the National Elections Commission (NEC) clearing them from electoral disputes. However, five electoral districts in Nimba and Bong Counties are outstanding based on legal challenges at the Supreme Court from contending parties.
Functions of the Ways, Means, and Finance Committee
- All appropriations of the revenue for the support of the Government;
- All matters relating to the finances of the House, preparation of the House’s budget and the custody and disbursement of the House’s funds subject to the approval of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker;
- Consideration and evaluation of the National Budget and the handling of hearing on the said budget as a whole with particular reference to the basic recommendations and budgetary policies of the Government of the Republic of Liberia;
- Domestic and International Finances;
- International financial and monetary organizations;
- The national budget, customs, revenue and tax policies and licensing generally;
- Public expenditure and debt services;
- Present to the House a written financial report every three months;
- Nomination of Director of Finance to the House;
- Evaluate and initial all checks, vouchers and related financial documents emanating from the House