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Budget hearing starts today

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The Liberian Legislature Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning will today commence public hearing on the expenditure component of the draft national budget for fiscal year 2016/2017 in the William Richard Tolbert joint chambers.

According to press release issued by the committee, the hearing is expected to last from August 3 to 16. Ministries that are expected to appear today include: Ministries of Agriculture, Education. Other expending institutions of government expected to attend today are, the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS).

On May 16, upon instructions from President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and consistent with Section 11(1) of the Public Financial Management or PFM Act of 2009, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Boima S. Kamara, submitted the Draft National Budget for 2016/2017 of US$555.9 million, comprising US$495.5 million for Core Domestic Revenue; US$30.2 million as Grant; and US$30.1 million as Contingent Domestic Revenue, respectively.

The contingency, according to Minister Kamara, is due to the fact that the Legislature must approve some measures before these sources can be realized. “This is why I have come today to present you this Proposed Budget which we believe outlines and captures our country’s priorities in the best possible [way]”, Minister Kamara said.

Additionally, the government has allocated US$20 million toward elections; US$10 million for UNMIL’s drawdown; US$5 million for agriculture; US$15 million on road construction; US$3 million for the Road Maintenance Fund; and US$1.5 million toward the airport runway rehabilitation.

“By no measures are these amounts enough to handle the issues mentioned but at this point this is what we can afford. What we have done in this budget is to prepare an Unfunded Contingent Envelop of US$140 million which considers a number of key investments that will help to diversify and grow the economy. We intend, with your approval, to seek donor funding either in grants or loans to help underwrite these expenditures,” the Minister noted.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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