By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
A joint committee of the Liberian Senate has recommended to its plenary for the holding of a joint legislative hearing into the Agreement between the Republic of Liberia and the Liberia International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR, LLC)which is seeking amendment for an additional ten years.
The attached reversed amendment to the said Agreement will ensure that the government buy-out the Agent for an amount equal to the product of 7.5 multiplied by the average of the total Agent’s fee paid to the Agent for each of the two fiscal years immediately preceding the date of effective termination.
The decision of the joint senate committee comes as a backdrop towards President Ellen Johnsons Sirleaf’s request to plenary for the enactment into law the said Agreement noting that if the above does not occur, the Agreement will continue for an additional and final ten years.
The senate committees comprising of the Judiciary chaired by Varney Sherman and the Maritime chaired by Dallas Gueh informed plenary that this report as it relates to advising that august body on the enactment of the amendment to the ‘Extended and Restated Agency Agreement’can only be complete following the proper procedures and actions.
President Sirleaf last month informed plenary through its presiding officer of the Liberia Maritime Authority report that pursuant to Section 3.12 of the Agreement, the Government of Liberia conducted a performance review of the Agent’s work and identified several areas where further improvements are required with the view to enhance the viability and profitability of the Liberian Maritime sector generally.
Some of the benefits for which the reversed amendment is before the National Legislature to be enacted include the development of new maritime businesses such as new flag administration businesses, ship registries, corporate registries and accompany adult services.
The benefits will also extend to acquiring or constructing of an office complex in the United States for the Liberia Registry in order to relieve the Liberian Registry of its enormous annual rental expenses as well as construct or acquire a Liberia Maritime Headquarter Complex in Liberia; designating the Agent to manage and develop the Liberia Maritime Training Institute and establish and operate a ship recycling registry.
Meanwhile, the joint senate committees among other things stated some of the procedures for the enactment of the law to invite the Ministry of Justice, the Liberia Maritime Authority, and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to convince the committees why the amendment to the Agreement should be rectified and at the same time two civil society organizations and a lawyer that would provide them with independent opinions on the instrument.
The joint hearing is scheduled for March 20 at 11:00 a.m. while the committees are requesting non committee members and the general public to channel their questions and inputs through the committees’ members as the hearing is expected to be aired live.