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Budget Bonanza (Pt-2)

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Mary Broh NDMary Broh, and the General Services Agency or GSA  say they will spend US250,000 this year, just to clean the Mesurado River, commonly known as the ‘Du River’, which is much more visible around the Providence Island, as dwellers within the country’s largest slum, West Point, near the same river remained in abject poverty and threaten by sea erosion.

The GSA,  was established  by an Act of the National Legislature under Chapter 51 of the Executive Law of 1972. According to the act, GSA is charged with the responsibilities to register, manage and maintained all Government of Liberia’s active and retired Assets.

As to  whether cleaning of the Mesurado River, for which Madam Broh and her GSA  have been given US250,000, which summed her 2015/2016 budget up to US8,020,428. 00 (Eight million, twenty thousand, four hundred and twenty-eight United States Dollars is part of this mandate remains unclear.

What is clear though is that Madam Broh and the GSA will have the US250,000, as national priority, while students in the South Eastern part of the country stay at home because there is no money to put roof over their school buildings during the rainy season.

With much of the sector ministries and agencies now having  repairs and maintenance  cost in their various budgets, the GSA with a budget of Eight million, twenty thousand, four hundred and twenty-eight United States Dollars  for the 2015/2016 budget has as its objective renovation of the GSA facilities and the undertaking of a complete inventory of Government of Liberia or GOL Assets in all fifteen Counties.

She plans to spend US59,200 for travel and perdiem within the 15 counties, with a modest fee of US500.00 for incidentals. Note that all the ministries and agencies have line items for repairs and maintenance, Madam  Broh and GSA  say they will spend US6,157,457 on repairs and maintenance of GOL property in 2015/2016.

There is no allotment for celebration,  commemoration, and state visit this year, not because they don’t want to, but apparently she is still trying to gather the papers from the last event for which she was given US268,800 in 2014.

The Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism is next.  Established by law on May 11, 1972,it has  the  statutory mandate to develop and disseminate factual information about Liberia at home and abroad.

The Ministry is also tasked to promote cultural and tourism values through various cultural groups and tourism centers. Like other ministries and agencies, Lewis G. Brown too has a special project at the cost of US175,000 out of a budget of US2.25 Million. Brown says he will spend the money on the Cultural Center and the National Museum.  There are still questions as to what happened to the Kenadja money.

Anyway, Dr. Lawrence Bropleh (ex-minister)  is yet to complete his thesis on what really went wrong with that money. So, Lewis Brown can beat his chest on that one. But one thing Brown will have to explain since there are no define objective for his request in the 2015/2016 budget, is the media relations and intelligence money, which witnessed a drastic reduction from US1,097,273 (one million, ninety seven thousand , two hundred and seventy-three United States Dollars) last budget to US175,000 for 2015/2016.

Brown would have you believe that the money was spent on 175 sessions of MICAT Regular Press briefing;  60 outings of national cultural groups with traditional messages for Ebola; Resurveyed 50 acres of land of the proposed Cultural Center in Margibi County; and the Opening Government National Consultation meetings around the Country in three regions-because those were what he wrote as major achievements in the 2014/2015 budget period.

However, the good news is that employees of MICAT are going to be happier than last year, all because Brown has increased the employee award budget from US15,000 to US25,000, meaning more employees are set to receive awards during this fiscal year.

Brown, like many other ministries and agencies also have a budget of US425,000 for general claims. The Bureau of State Enterprises is next. This is a little known bureau,  which functions like most integrity institutions here with impacts little or none effective at all.

The Bureau of State Enterprise or BSE was established in 1985 by the Interim National Assembly (INA) Degree # 8 with mandate to advice government on all matters relating to policies for state-owned enterprises with a view to ensure accountability and transparency. With a budget of US142,974, which is pure salaries for its handful of officials, it says it plans to conduct periodic monitoring exercises, among others. National Identification Registry is one of the newly established registries that has been given US300,000 just to maintain its few staff.

The Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services or LISGIS, is next with a budget of US2.5million; it has a special project valued at US1 million. With 85% unemployed rate and having described most Liberians as being vulnerably employed, it intends to use the US1 million to conduct survey on household income expenditure. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, with a budget of US28, 069,507,  Mr. Morris Dukuly also has a special project valued at US500,000.

With its much trumpeted Decentralization and deconcentration, it has no allotment for such program but will have to rely on donor’s help. Dukuly’s US500,000 special project appears confusing, because it’s not specified as to what exactly he will be using that among for.

The National Council of Chiefs and Elders, is a council that has seen its budget leapped-frog over time from US424, 931 to US740,004. The Chiefs also have in their budget US250,000 for a Special Project  they are yet to specified. However, the US740,004, in the budget is to be used for administration and management. The Ministry of Finance is next.-To be continued. By Othello B. Garblah

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