‘Budget not impactful’
--CENTAL lament lack of political will power
By Lewis S. Teh
The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) says the National Budget for fiscal year 2022/2023 lacks the will power to impact the lives of citizens across the country.
“However, there are major issues, including corruption and abuse of power, that continue to make the national budget less impactful to citizens,” CENTAL said Friday, 17 March 2023 in Sinkor.
The pro-transparency organization lamented that the will power is still not strong enough to make the national budget satisfactorily work for all, especially ordinary citizens and those living in remote parts of the country.
CENTAL Executive Director Mr Anderson Miamen told journalists of a perennial issue of underfunding of public integrity institutions.
He also decried discrepancies in allocations and actual expenditure, misapplication of budgeted resources, and huge disparities in allocations to cities.
The CENTAL chief considered it a ‘zero budgeting’, and undue prioritization of certain offices, especially those occupied by politicians, opposed to sectors and institutions with direct impacts on the lives of ordinary citizens.
Citing an example, Miamen explained that over the last few budget years, over 80,000 USD has been allotted for a Health Center in Gbondoi Town in Bong County.
However, he said the resources have not reached the people, neither are residents of the town aware if they had such resources in the national budget.
The funds he claimed, were allegedly diverted by Representative Marvin Cole of Bong County to the Kpayah Town Clinic in his district, a clear abuse of power and misapplication of budgeted resources.
Miamen argued that this is a classic example of how policy makers use the national budget to their own advantage at the expense of others and the population, more broadly.
On funding to transparency sector, he added that CENTAL observes that the sector is expected to receive increased budgetary support, from $42,142,578 in 2022 to $55,404,476 in 2023.
According Miamen, CENTAL is pleased to formally launch a report containing analysis of budgets from 2016 up to the draft 2023 national budget.
“This is part of efforts to independently track and mainstream accountability and transparency in the national budget process so that it works for everyone and not a selected few individuals and groups,” Miamen continued.
According to him, the report follows a careful review and analysis of the draft 2023 national budget, the budget process, as well as expenditures.
Additionally, he stated that it covers media tracking and monitoring visits to selected locations, Gbondoi Town in Bong County for example, to gather firsthand information from residents on budget performance and impacts.
The report, according to him, places a spotlight on efforts to make the budget process more transparent and inclusive.