HOR Concerns About Acute LEC Power Outage

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The Plenary of the House of Representatives- HOR, has instructed its joint committee on State Owned Enterprise and Public Utilities, to investigate the reported interruption in the supply of electricity by the Liberia Electricity Corporation- LEC. The House of Representatives decision Tuesday, February 13, 2024, was triggered by a communication from Grand Bassa County District 1 Representative, Isaac G. Bannie. Representative Bannie recounted with keen interest the inequitable and inconsistent power supply by the Liberia Electricity Corporation- LEC in Monrovia and its environs. According to him, such practice has the propensity to destroy lives and cause other forms of inconveniences. He requested the Honorable House of Representatives, to invite the Management Team of the Liberia Electricity Corporation, to provide reasons for such embarrassment and state the remedy. Meanwhile, the joint committee is expected to report within a period of one week. At the same time, the House of Representatives has mandated its committees on Judiciary, Labor, Good Governance and Foreign Affairs, to review a bill seeking to amend the Liberia Aliens and Nationality Law of 2022. A statement issued Tuesday, February 13, 2024, by the House Press and Public Affairs Bureau says, the august body took the decision following a communication from Nimba County District 7 Representative, Musa Hassan Bility. Representative Bility said the submission is an omnibus bill which would revise and codify all of the laws relating to immigration, naturalization, and nationality. “The Bill undertakes a general revision and modernization of these laws that is needed and long overdue, particularly with respect to citizenship, immigration and naturalization and seeks to provide a policy that is in tune with the current global realities that takes us a step forward, especially in view of the crying need for reform in this area”, he alerted. According to the Nimba County lawmaker, in recent years, Liberia’s citizenship, immigration and naturalization policy has become a matter of major national concern with questions about its effect on national and cultural fabric. He said what should be done in such an area is vital to the continued growth and development in the quest for unification among Liberians, critical to economic and social strength, pertinent to the conduct of foreign relations, and most important, critical to responsibilities of moral leadership in the struggle for unity. Representative Bility said the bill recognizes the great domestic and international significance of Liberian citizenship, immigration and naturalization policies, and takes a step to improve existing laws to alleviate the perpetuation of division that hamper the efforts toward unification, and decrease the repressive and inhumane aspects of immigration procedures by removing restrictions on citizenship of natural born Liberians and their children, removing unnecessary barriers to immigration and naturalization, and proposing alternative immigration and migration requirements. He said it strikes down the marks of prejudice and removes repressive measures directed at all who seek a new and better life within the borders of Liberia. The Bill also addresses the need to remove archaic and colonial references to Black people and women. “Today, it seems that we are still “protecting” ourselves, as we were in 1876 during the colonial and slave period, against being flooded by immigrants and even diaspora Liberians. However, this period has since ended and we do not need to be protected in this manner. On the contrary, we need to open our doors and welcome citizenship, immigration and naturalization as a means to economic development and growth. In no other area of our nation’s laws are we so encumbered by the dead hand of the past, as we are in our citizenship, immigration, and naturalization policies”, he maintained. Representative Musa Bility who Chairs the august body National Security Committee revealed that Liberia must not limit social growth or hold economic growth to the environment of 1876 but rather should welcome progress and change to meet changing conditions in every sphere of life. “Now is the time to start shaking off the dead weight of past mistakes – the time to develop laws on citizenship, immigration and naturalization that are a true reflection of the ideals we proclaim to stand for. In the last few years, we began this work with the enactment of the dual citizenship clause. This was a major win for Liberia. We must continue the work to further create laws not to keep people out, but to bring qualified and productive people in and find better ways to meet the immigration challenges of the 1870’s that are so prevalent in our Alien and Nationality Law”, the lawmaker stated. He said Liberia must not restrict the inalienable rights of natural born Liberians, who have taken on the citizenship of other countries but not denounced Liberian citizenship, to serve their country as elected officials. According to the lawmaker, the Country must instead recognize the conditions and necessities that compelled citizens in the diaspora to seek citizenship elsewhere in the world and not subject them and their children to discriminatory practices. “We must adequately deal with the provisions of our existing laws related to the qualifications of aliens and immigrants for admission and the administration of the laws. We must not make it difficult for people of character and investors to enter and become resident aliens of our country. We must instead remove the looming threat of surreptitious deportation at any moment that makes Resident Aliens frightened to invest and and/or cause capital flight “, he maintained. Representative Musa Bility said Liberia must not exhibit the distrust evidenced in the current laws for citizens and aliens alike, especially at a time unity is needed at home, the confidence of citizens abroad, and the support of foreign investors residing in the country. Representative Bility said Liberia has adequate and fair provisions in the present law to protect against the entry of criminals adding that attention must instead be drawn to enforcing those provisions instead of keeping or creating antiquated mechanisms to keep its doors closed in the name of “protection”. Meanwhile, upon the completion of the instrument, the joint committee is expected to report to plenary.

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