November 26, 2019
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Following the refusal of President Bio to append his signature to the 2020 Finance Act, Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Abass C. Bundu, has informed Members of Parliament that Section 42(6) of the said Act be amended so that it makes provision for a ceiling for the non-accountable imprest.
Last Thursday, opposition lawmakers from the National Grand Coalition (NGC) and the All People’s Congress (APC) requested through a motion that Parliament reviews the 2020 Finance Act after a public outcry that the President and his vice should be accountable.
“It will interest you to know that we have received reaction from Mr. President on the finance Act 2020.The request we got from him is that he required us to revisit that particular provision that deals with non-accountability for imprest, which has aroused so much interest within and outside country,” he said.
He said before the House could conclude for Christmas recess, there was need to re-debate the Act so that it will come into force as at 1st January 2020.
President Julius Maada returned the bill through a Memorandum to the Clerk of Parliament, Pursuant to Part V, Section 106(7).
“His Excellency the President has perused the document and has expressed grave concern over the open-endedness of the ‘non-accountable imprest as provided for in the said Act. He is of the view that this is prone to improper use of public funds. Therefore, to address the carte blanche provision of Section 42, His Excellency the President has proposed to Parliament that Section 42(6) be amended so that it makes provision for a ceiling for the non-accountable imprest,” a release from State House states.
“Unlike the past, the fact that Parliament and members of the public are now discussing Presidential imprest demonstrates the President’s avowed stance on transparency. If amended by Parliament, imprest of such nature and the proposed ceiling will now be guided by law,” the release added.