The President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Gbehzohngar M. Findley, has declared that the Liberian Senate will be tough in exercising its oversight responsibility in this Second Sitting of the August Body. Addressing the opening of Legislative Session in the Chamber of the Liberian Senate Monday, Pro-Tempore Findley said the Senate will take a number of measures to ensure that government meets the wishes and aspirations of the Liberian people.
Outlining some of the issues the Senate will seriously consider this term, Pro-Temp Findley mentioned the scrupulous execution of the 2012/2013 National Budget and how the appropriations made in the budget affect the overall development of the country and the lives of Liberians, especially the ordinary people. “We need to be vigorous in our oversight responsibility to ensure that those things we want for our people; those things we have appropriated for our people are achieved.”He emphasized.
According to the Senate Pro-Tempore, the Senate will also be looking at the disparity in wages and salaries in both the public and private sectors. He noted that there has been “unfair pay to Liberians in the concessions of this country” adding, “It is deeply saddened that we as a Senate will continue to look at the deteriorating situation with concessions not performing. We want to send out the message now that concessionaires must be prepared to show this Senate the programs for providing jobs for Liberians on the managerial level as well as training.” To make this work, Pro-Temp Findley said the Senate Committees on Labor, Judiciary and Education will be looking into the matter with the concessionaires.
Commenting on the education sector of Liberia, the Pro-Temp pleaded with his colleagues to see the need to work on strengthening the education system of the country. He noted that the Senate will take a deeper look into the revaluation of the programs universities and colleges are offering in the country. With this, he said, “The Senate must evaluate whether the programs offered by these schools are meeting the needs of the people and the economic needs of the country.”Pro-Temp Findley said the Senate Committee on Education will take the lead in looking at these critical reforms in the education sector.
Other issues he stressed the Senate will seriously consider are the code of conduct and transparency and accountability. “My colleagues, this is important to the growth and development of our nation. The behavior of public servants must be taken seriously,” he explained. On the issue of the decent work Bill, Pro-Temp Findley expressed the hope that the Senate can reach a conclusion this year.
Recognizing the cardinal role the energy sector plays in the economic growth of the country, Pro-Temp Findley revealed that the Senate is currently working on the hydrocarbon reform process led by the Senate Committee on Lands, Mines and Energy. The Pro-Temp congratulated the Committee for the level of work done so far but hoped that the committee can conclude the work by the end of January to improve the oil and gas sector and bring some level of transparency to the sector.
Meanwhile Pro-Temp Findley has disclosed that transparency will be at the forefront during the 2nd Sitting of the Senate. To ensure this works, the Pro-Temp disclosed that, for the first time, the Senate Committee on Public Accounts and Audits will hold public hearings on all audits done in the Republic of Liberia during the 2nd Sitting of the Body. He called on all functionaries of government and stakeholders in the process to cooperate with the committee in making the process successful.
At the same time, Pro-Tempore Findley has reminded the different committees of the Senate that the tasks ahead are cumbersome but believes that members of the committees are up to the task. “I have confidence in you that you will perform the task of oversight.” He concluded.