MONROVIA – It seems when members of the National Legislature signed the Joint Resolution approving President Weah’s State of Emergency on COVID-19, they had not anticipated the kind of implementation hurdles that the SOE action plan is currently undergoing. Almost a month down the line, with the citizenry grumbling about what they perceive as the unwillingness on the part of government to provide them the promised stimulus package; even as they experience the excruciating burden of lockdown, Montserrado Senator Abraham Darius Dillon has voiced his frustration over delays from the Executive in submitting a recast budget that would operationalize provisions of the SOE.
According to Senator Dillon, the executive branch of government has failed to submit the recast of the current budget.
“We approved 25 million dollars for food aid, with the provision in keeping with count 14 of the resolution, that all appropriations or re-appropriations approved in this Joint Resolution shall be subject to the recast process in accordance with the budget law. And we went further to say, in any such recast process, priority shall be given to the hospital systems in the 15 counties throughout the republic and to the national health plan,” Sen. Dilllon asserted, noting, almost one month after signing of the Joint Resolution on the SOE, and following the approval of the measures to be taken by the president with conditions that the funding for those measures would be submitted to this legislature by a recast of the budget for the legislature’s approval in keeping with the budget law, nothing has happened”, Senator Dillon said.
The vocal lawmaker who seems to be a thorn in the flesh of his colleagues because he has brought to light many dealings of the legislature that had been hidden from the public glare, said since he and his colleagues signed the Joint Resolution approving the SOE and approving the measures as announced by the President with some modifications, with the condition that the funding government money or donor funding in the name of the country will be submitted to the legislature in a week’s time so that “we can do the appropriate appropriation in keeping with the budget law to pass it, nothing seems to be forthcoming from the executive”.
“It is troubling; it is concerning that almost one month the executive has failed to submit the recast of that budget. We are waiting for the recast. Where is it? I am asking President Weah, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and the Executive. We don’t seem to be exerting our oversight as an institution. As a Senator, I am concerned that is pretty close to one month, not a bag of rice has been given to our people; I don’t see any PPEs; no ventilators being purchased; what’s happening to health hazards to health workers?” Senator Dillon wondered.
He later wondered whether the delay from the executive is not intentional to cause the citizens to rise up against the legislature, when in fact the legislators have done their part in ensuring that the citizens benefit from the stimulus package.