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Liberian gov't halts public land sale, suspends some taxes

LIBERIA  NEWS AGENCY Liberian forest





MONROVIA, Dec 26 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has issued Executive Order No. 53, ordering a
moratorium on public land sale and all transactions, including the issuance of Tribal
Certificates and Town Lot Certificates by private individuals, entities, and groups as well as
all government functionaries involved in public land transactions.
According to the Liberia News Agency, the Order, signed December 20, 2013, warns that all Tribal
Certificates or Town Lot Certificates issued by any local authority during the period of the moratorium
will be considered illegal and void. Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has constituted a nine-member
Screening Committee to vet all Public Land Deeds in the country and work in accordance with the Interim
Guidelines and Procedures for the Sale of Public Land, issued in 2011, as recommended by the Land
Commission.
Members of the Committee, headed by the Chairperson of the Land Commission, also includes the
Ministers of Justice, Internal Affairs, Public Works, Agriculture, and Lands, Mines & Energy.
Others are the Chairman of the National Investment Commission, the Managing Director of the Forestry
Development Authority, and the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Current issues surrounding the sale of public land continue to pose serious challenges to ensuring
equal access, security of tenure and the rule of law with regards to public land transactions.
In a related development, President Sirleaf has issued Executive Order No. 54, temporarily suspending
import tariff as well as goods and services tax on commercial public transport buses, operating for
the commercial transportation of persons and goods.
The Order, also signed on December 20, suspends goods and services tax on all buses intended to be
used for public commercial transport purposes. Additionally, the Liberian leader has suspended the
import tariff as well as goods and services tax on spare parts for the National Transit Authority (NTA).
The suspension specifically applies to assorted spare parts for NTA, consistent with Ashok Leyland
spare parts catalogue, assorted tires for NTA mass transit buses, and assorted tools and equipment for
repair and maintenance of NTA buses. Importers will only pay the customs user fee of 1.5 percent and the
ECOWAS trade levy of 0.5 percent where applicable, according to an Executive mansion release quoted by
LINA.
As public transport infrastructure remains a key priority of the Government under the Agenda for
Transformation, the need exists to continuously improve public access to efficient, safe and reliable
commercial transport services, thereby reducing difficulties and hardships faced by commuters, and
consequently reducing the cost of goods and services.
The two Executive Orders take immediate effect.

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