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Budget resubmission delayed key deliverables

--Government report reveals

President Boakai’s short-term plan for the government included accelerating the fight against corruption and making primary roads useable, especially in the southern part of Liberia.

By Kruah Thompson 

Monrovia, May 20, 2024: The Government of Liberia has disclosed that the recalling and resubmission of the FY2024 National Budget significantly hindered the implementation of crucial 100-day deliverables.

In its assessment report, the government said the process impacted major sectors such as agriculture, rule of law, sanitation, public administration, health, road rehabilitation, and infrastructure development.

After coming to power on January 22, 2024, President Joseph Nyumah Boakai provided his short-term directions for the country, crafted into a 100-day action plan.

The short-term directions included accelerating the fight against corruption and making primary roads useable, especially in southern Liberia.

The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, over the weekend, released the recent assessment report.

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It was highlighted that out of the various interventions outlined in the 100-Day Action Plan, the government was able to achieve 74 with 64 percent of them either completed or ongoing.

The remaining interventions, particularly routine ones, have been delayed due to budgetary constraints and the process of government formation.

The report indicates that President Boakai’s administration has finalized 74 interventions in the 100-Day Action Plan. 

Of these, 20 funded interventions comprise 23 percent, while the remaining 67 are routine, comprising 77 percent. 

This sharply contrasts with a prior report by the Civil Society organization NAYMOTE, which stated that the Boakai-led administration completed 10%, had 42% in progress, and 48% unrated due to insufficient information.

Disregarding the findings of the civil society group, the Ministry of Finance emphasized that the government is transparent about its actions to the public. 

The Ministry urged the public to scrutinize the information themselves to uncover the truth.

“The status of the interventions is either completed, ongoing, or pending. The ongoing and completed constitute the progress made so far.”

“The report combines the completed and ongoing interventions because some interventions such as road maintenance, and drainage and sewage cleaning are ongoing,” the report said.

“Therefore, the combined number of completed and ongoing interventions is 64, which constitutes 74 percent of the total interventions, while the remaining 20, representing 26 percent, are pending.”

However, the report further noted that the pending routine interventions were delayed because the government was still being constituted and also due to the recall of the FY2024 National budget and funding constraints.

On Thursday, 14 March 2024, the Government of Liberia submitted the revised draft National Budget for Fiscal Year 2024 through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

It was submitted to the 55th Legislature in the amount of USD 692.2M in compliance with Section 17.1 of the Public Financial Management Act 2009. 

The FY2024 budget was recalled, revised, and resubmitted to reflect the new government’s priorities.

During a press conference in Monrovia last week, Deputy Finance Minister Anthony G. Myer presented the government’s 100-Day Action Plan Assessment Report. 

Out of the total amount submitted by the government, US$23,488,543 was allocated to enhance the fight against corruption, drugs, and substance abuse, commence the President’s ICT program for 10,000 youth, and improve primary road accessibility in the region.

However, he mentioned that challenges arose in executing the planned interventions within the timeframe specified by the President due to delays in budget approval. 

Consequently, only a portion of the funded interventions was completed.

Despite facing resource constraints, the Deputy Minister also highlighted the government’s significant progress in bolstering transparency, accountability, and governance through effectively enforcing the rule of law and combatting corruption. 

“Notable achievements include advancements in infrastructure, notably in maintaining primary roads accessible year-round, and enhancing the President’s ICT program for 10,000 youths, alongside the upgrade of meteorological equipment at Roberts International Airport (RIA),” the report pointed out.

“The strategic design of the 100-Day Action Plan was based on a deep understanding of the current

governance and microeconomic situation and the challenges that needed immediate action.”

Rooted in the vision of the Unity Party Alliance (UPA) campaign manifesto and its Agriculture, Roads, Rule of Law, Education, Sanitation and Health, Tourism (ARREST) framework, the I00-Day Action Plan has been outlined and prioritized based on findings not only from Joint Presidential Transition Teams engagements across all sectors of government.

However, it also has diverse technical engagements and coordination meetings held with all ministries, agencies, and commissions (MACs) and Development Partners. 

“It is a product of a multi-agent engagement process. The plan is being coordinated through a structured coordination mechanism that is headed by the National Steering Committee chaired by the President,” the report said.

Despite facing obstacles such as delayed budget approval and confirmation of key officials, the government remains steadfast in its efforts to deliver on its promises.

Meanwhile, the 100-Day Action Plan, structured around four strategic objectives focusing on governance, infrastructure, education, and economic development, reflects a comprehensive approach to addressing immediate challenges facing Liberia. 

However, effective coordination and resource mobilization is crucial for overcoming existing hurdles and ensuring the plan’s successful implementation.

The report further reveals that since assuming office on 22 January 2024, under the leadership of President Joseph Boakai, the Unity Party Alliance-led Government has prioritized fulfilling commitments outlined in its campaign manifesto.

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