MONROVIA, Montserrado – In a rare and recently unprecedented move, the House of Representatives suspended all its rules to ratify a US$40 Million financing agreement with the World Bank.
One day prior to this lightning ratification on Thursday, March 19, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah signed the financing agreement on behalf of the Government of Liberia. The agreement, according to Tweah, is intended as “direct budget support for FY 2019/2020.”
Following the signing, Tweah thanked the World Bank and partners for their well-coordinated approach. He emphasized during the signing ceremony that the US$40 Million agreement was budget support intended for key development programs, and not any package intended to fight the Coronavirus.
According to Tweah and the World Bank, the financing support is divided into two parts – a US$20 million credit and a second US$20 million “development policy grant.” Both instruments were approved by the World Bank’s Board of Directors on March 17, 2020.
Tweah expressed hope that the agreement, which is part of the 2019/2020 budget year, will buttress the government’s operations “especially where the government is experiencing the Coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, the government is expected to remain engaged in consultative talks with the IMF and World Bank for possible assistance to the economy within the context of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the signing of the agreement, it was immediately sent by Pres. George Weah to Capitol Hill for ratification, resurfacing on the floor of the House a day after. By acting so swiftly upon the financing agreement, the House suspended all of its rules of ratification.
Making the motion to suspend the House rules was Maryland’s third district representative, Isaac Roland, who remarked that the nature and circumstances of the agreement and prevailing situation dictated such swift action.
“Considering the nature of the communication sent by President Dr. George Weah seeking this Honorable House of Representatives to ratify [this] all-important Financing Agreement, I move that our rules be suspended and that the president’s communication and agreement be endorsed and ratified by the House of Representatives,” Rep. Roland motioned.
Following the reading of the president’s communication, Rep. Roland’s motion was unanimously accepted. The House of Representatives later voted to pass the relevant acts.
Featured photo by Ida Reeves