-Over Reduction Of CSDF By Executive
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
Nimba County electoral district eight Representative, Larry Younquoi has raised alarmed over the reduction of the County Social Development Fund (CSDF) in the Draft National Budget for 2018/2019 by the Executive branch of government.
Rep. Larry P. Younquoi of Nimba District eight
The Nimba County lawmaker has meanwhile written the plenary of the House of Representatives seeking its intervention in reversing the action of the executive branch to ‘unilaterally and irregularly’ reduce the County Social Development Fund (CSDF) in the current draft National Budget for fiscal year 2018/2019 for Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa Counties.
Representative Younquoi reminded his colleagues that the fund has annually been stipulated as US$1.5million for Nimba, US$1.0million for Grand Bassa and US$500,000 for Bong Counties respectively.
In his communication to plenary Thursday, the veteran Nimba County lawmaker said the funding to those counties have been reduced without any evidence of alteration to the law controlling it.
“For example, in the current budget, Nimba, Grand Bassa and Bong Counties are instead allocated US$435,975, US$533,333 and US$266,667.00 respectively. These amounts as you can observe are just barely a quarter of what should be given to these counties yearly.
“It may interest you to note that the amounts in question are provided for in the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) between the Government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal,” Younquoi said.
According to Representative Younquoi, since the coming into being of said MDA, these stipulations had been kept sacrosanct till few years when the Executive decided to reduce said amounts without any explanation to the beneficiary counties.
“Such unilateral tampering with our laws, especially as it relates to the SDF takes away the essence of introducing the Social Development funds in the first place,” he added.
The allocation of the SDF is intended to engender co-ownership between residents of the communities around the operational areas of the company and the company itself.
He said through such ownership, the country can be assured of safety of the installations of assets of the investors, while the country would reap the desired benefits of peace, economic vibrancy among others.
“Such wonton disregard for the law also leaves more questions than answers. For instance, is the government setting aside provisions of the MDA without necessary amendment? What happens to the unpaid stipulations? Can it be considered as debt to be paid to the concerned counties at a later date? These questions need to be answered,” he indicated.
He wants said funds to be restored to the concerned counties. The communication was read, discussed and sent to the committees on ways, means, finance and development planning and judiciary to investigate and report in one week.