Senator Karnga-Lawrence wants Legislature cut break to address ongoing rice saga

MONROVIA – The Rules, Order, and Administration Committee Chairman of the Liberian Senate, Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, is pleading with members of the 54th National Legislature to return from its break to muster their courage to deal with the rice situation in the country, something she believes is posting serious hardship on the ordinary citizens.

 In a dispatch, the Grand Bassa County Senator said, she believes that when the Legislature deals with the rice issues at different levels, it will help to save the country and also prevent the situation from generating into crisis.

At the same time, Senator Lawrence said, while the Executive through the Ministry of Commence is not correctly performing its statutory obligation to bring hope to the Liberian people by addressing the situation, the Legislature should also share some of the blames.

A release from the Liberian Senate quotes Senator Lawrence as saying that during the passage of the current budget, the Legislature was very weak in its oversight responsibilities.

She maintained that the Legislature should have had a public and budget hearing on the US$11 million subsidies for rice importation before passage.

The Grand Bassa County Senator noted that it was unfortunate that the Minister of Commence got the approval of the US$11 million subsidy without giving justification through public or budget hearing, and as such cannot take the blame alone for the shortage of rice on the Liberian market.

She mentioned that these were some of the lapses that led her and some of her colleagues to vote against the passage of the budget.

In recent days, Liberians have been scrambling for rice, the country’s staple in the wake of soaring prices. In some places including Montserrado and other parts of the country, the price of a 25kg bag of rice has increased by 100 percent- where it was once sold for US$15, consumers are now buying at US$30. The Government is yet to announce any solution.

By Emmanuel Toe

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