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Draft Budget 2017/2018 hearings begin today

The Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget and Public Account of the Liberian Legislature has announced that it will begin scrutinizing the 2017/2018 Fiscal Budget on Monday, June 5 at 10:00am, in the House’s first floor conference room.

The process begins with hearing on the revenue components that brings twenty nine (29) revenue generating Ministries and Agencies on Capitol this week, Monday — Friday, June 5 – 9.

According to a Press Release from the Media Departments of the House and Liberian Senate, institutions invited for the revenue hearing, are the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. Others are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Liberia Petroleum Refining Corporation (LPRC), the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), and the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA).

On Tuesday, June 6, the following institutions will appear before the Joint Committee: National Port Authority (NPA), Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Roberts International Airport (RIA), and Ministry of Transport (MOT). The release further stated the expenditure hearing of the 2017/2018 Budget would begin on Monday, June 12, and lasted for about two (2) weeks.

It may be recalled, 2017 /2018 Budget to Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay upon the mandate of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, consistent with Section 11 (1) of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act of 2009.

The 2017/2018 Draft Budget is the tune of US$ 526.6 million, with a 12.3% cut of the 2016/2017 Budget. Making presentation of the Budget Monday, Acting Finance Minister TannehBrumson said, the economy of Liberia like most in the world is experiencing some turbulence due in large part to the global economic downturn. The Acting finance minister assured lawmakers that the Finance Ministry is applying fiscal measures to control expenditure and demonstrate to its partners their commitment to the priorities before attracting their support. She called on lawmakers to continue to lead the charge in taking practical steps to diversify the economy and insulate it from external shocks of the types available to government and continue to experience over the last three years.

Receiving the budget on behalf of the Legislature, House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay thanked the Finance Ministry for making what he called a symbolic presentation of the budget but said the presentation, by law, should have been made on April 30 accusing the ministry of being a month late. “It is our prayer that the required copies will be presented to the Legislature as soon as possible.” “We are aware that this year is election year and to provide funding for the elections means we need to ensure that this budget is passed in a timely manner.”

“We will also ensure that development programs that should be executed by President Sirleaf before the end of her term are implemented. We are inclined to do that.” Our Developmental Focused Survey conducted by the legislature shows that the number one priority of the people of Liberia are roads follow by safe drinking water, health and education. Doing these things the speaker believes will help promote the image of the Legislature contrary to public perception that the Legislature is a bunch of people who only think of themselves.

Bong County Representative, Prince Moye , who is the Chairman on the Committee of Ways, Means and Development Planning, is the Chairman of the Joint Committee to scrutinize the budget. The Chairman of the Senate’s Ways, Means, Finance & Budget, Prof. Edward Dagoseh, is the Co-chair of the Joint Committee. Constitutionally, after the House’s thorough review and subsequent passage, it would be forwarded to the Senate for concurrence and then to the President, before it becomes a legal instrument for usage. However, failure by the Legislature to pass the budget on or before June 30, according to the PPCC law, one-twelfth (1/12) of the 2016 /2017 would be used for July and other months, until the budget is fully endorsed.

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