President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has approved and signed into law the National Budget for FY2016/2017, which runs from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, in the amount of Six Hundred Million Two Hundred and Four Thousand and Seventy-Six United States Dollars (US$600,204,076.00) or an equivalent of Fifty-Seven Billion, Three Hundred Nineteen Million, Four Hundred Fifty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Seven Liberian Dollars (L$57,319,450,867).
For the FY2016/17 resource envelope of US$600.2 million, US$524.9 million will be raised from domestic sources (taxes and non-tax revenue); US$50.2 million in grants from external resources, while unspent revenue from the FY2015/16 comprises US$2.0 million.
According to a Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) press release, despite the decline in the 2016/17 National Budget, key sectors with net increases in appropriation for direct support to the country’s social service delivery plan imbedded in the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) and the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan (ESRP) include health, agriculture, education and transparency.
The National Budget is apportioned between Recurrent Expenditure in the amount of US$520.5 million or 86.7 percent and the Public Sector Investment Projects (PSIP) with US$79.7 million or 13.3 percent.
Key sectors which received substantial share of the total resource envelope include: SecurityUS$94.8 million; Education US$86.2 million, Health US$77.4 million, Infrastructure US$42.2 million and Agriculture US$11.9 million, respectively.
The release indicated that Government has maintained increased spending of US$34.6 million for ongoing road reconstruction works and maintenance, renovation of public buildings as well as US$4million for energy expansion and distribution.
Also, as a manifestation of its commitment to ensuring a smooth transition with the holding of free, fair, transparent presidential and legislative elections in 2017, US$20 million has been appropriated as government’s direct support to the National Elections Commission.
The release: “Even though Health continues to receive enormous support and goodwill from our partners because of the Ebola epidemic, Government is putting US$77.4 million in the sector compared to the actual spending of US$72.6 million in the last budget year.”
Additionally, other key areas, programs and entities that are slated to receive the needed funding in this year’s annual National Budget include: the University of Liberia, US$16 million; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services will receive US$2 million; Coastal Defense and Beach Cleaning, US$1.4 million; Tubman University and Booker Washington Institute, US$1.2 million.
The release concluded that US$10 million is being allotted to support UNMIL’s drawdown plan, while US$1 million is being appropriated for Household Income and Expenditure Survey.