House Passes Coastal Defense Bill
The House of Representatives have overwhelmingly voted for the passage of the Coastal Defense Bill, which seeks protection for coastal lines, coastal counties and prevention of beach sand mining.
The passage of the draft bill into law followed recommendation from the Joint Committee on Judiciary and Lands, Mines and Energy that the instrument will establish a framework for effective respond to the challenges of coastal erosion across the country.
The Chairperson for the Joint Committee, Rep. Adolph Lawrence indicated through a communication that the legislation will enable government take pro-active approach in preventing coastal disasters and environmental degradations around the coastal belt of the country.
“It also will provide for the legal protection of communities threatened by sea erosion,” he noted.
About nine counties, including Grand Bassa, River-Cess, Maryland, Grand Kru, Sinoe, Grand Cape Mount, Monsterrado, Margibi, and Bomi counties are currently under serious threat by sea erosion, according to the recommendation of the Joint Committee.
The coastal defense fund will be managed by the Liberia Maritime Authority by employing hard and sift engineering technologies such as beach nourishment, construction of sea walls, boulders, revetments, groans and gabions.
Speaking in Chamber on Thursday during the lower House’s debate about the passage of the bill, the Chairman on Lands, Mines and Energy disclosed that the nine coastal counties are seriously being threatened by sea erosion, warning that if nothing is done within the shortest possible time, Liberia risks losing those areas to the sea.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has passed a law to sustain political parties in the country. The Act entitled, “An Act to sustain democracy through public Funding of Political Parties, Coalition, Alliances, [and] providing for annual national budget appropriation to political parties, coalition, alliance and independent candidates”, was heavily debated before passed by members of the House and forwarded to the Liberian Senate for concurrence.
When concurred by the Senate, political parties, alliances with the following percentage in the 2011 elections will get the following budgetary allocations:. 10 percent to 19 percent will earn US$360.000.00; 20 percent to 29 percent, US$450,000.00; 30 percent to 39 percent, US$675,000.00; 40 percent to49 percent US$825,000.00 and 50 percent to 100 percent US$1,125.000.00, respectively.
The House passed the Act with a recommendation that call for US$250,000.00 to be annually given to parties or alliances that meet the threshold of 5 to 9 % of an election results should be ignored, as well as budgetary allocations for independent candidates after each election year.
According to the Act, Section 3.1 provides for each political party or alliance to get US$15,000.00 annually per senatorial seat, while US$ 12,500.00 will be allotted to a political party or alliance per representative seat.
Said money will be paid quarterly the through the National Election Commission with parties receiving public funds required to write financial reports to be submitted to the General Auditing Commission. Both bills have been forwarded to the Liberian Senate for concurrence.