Senator Sumo Kupee
Senator, National Legislature of Liberia
Keywords: Conflict of Interest, Capacity Building, Budgeting, Oversight, Decentralization, Drafting Legislation, Training, Conflict of Interest
Interviewer(s): Graeme Blair
Country of Reform: Liberia
Location: Monrovia , Liberia
Date: Fri Jul 24 2009
Senator Sumo Kupee provides insight based on his experiences as Chairman of the Senate Ways, Means, Finance and Budget Committee. He describes the committee’s endeavors to ensure that the oversight responsibility of the legislature with respect to the executive is filled, specifically by scrupulous monitoring of the approval and implementation of the national budget. He further outlines the committee’s work in drafting a public financial management law, and improving the existing investment incentive code, looking to bring about economic revitalization to facilitate poverty reduction. Kupee stresses the importance of the decentralization of the budget, and details the committee’s efforts to ensure that the budget is county-sensitive and efficiently allocated. He also discusses the creation and plans of the Legislative Modernization Committee, going into depth about problems with appointed personnel and the need for qualified/trained staff. In this respect, Kupee describes his experience with his own staff and the training strategies he employed. Acknowledging the competing factional interests that often need to be overcome when conducting negotiations within governance, he outlines the fragmented conception of loyalties within Liberia and discusses how these play out in Liberian politics. Kupee also stresses the need for reconstruction and infrastructure building within Liberia, considering this a major national task. He concludes by providing information about the avenues he explores when looking to draft new legislation.
Contact Innovations for Successful Societies for a copy of the audio file.
Sumo G. Kupee served as a senator in the National Legislature of Liberia, being elected to the position in 2005. Kupee was also the chair of the Senate Ways, Means, Finance and Budget Committee. In the past, Kupee has served in various capacities at the Ministry of Finance, starting as Commissioner, Bureau of Income Tax, progressing to Special Assistant and Policy Adviser to the Minister of Finance, and later becoming Commissioner of Customs and Excise, the latter being a position he held immediately prior to elections. With an MSc in Development Economics from the People’s Friendship University of Russia (PFUR), Kupee taught at the University of Liberia from 1986-1997, and served as Chairman of the Department of Economics for six years.