The Executive branch of government through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Development has presented the US$562.2 million national draft budget for FY2018/19 to the 54th Liberian Legislature for possible passage into law.
Making the presentation Monday, 30 April at the Capitol, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah the draft national budget is in line with President George Manneh Weah’s agenda to run a pro-poor government.
Minister Tweah explains that the budget focuses on pro-poor policy of the government, suggesting that it is about people centered plight that is little different from previous budgets.
According to him, the financial instrument was crafted under difficult situation, but the senior managerial team at the ministery is up to the task. Meanwhile, the draft budget was accompanied by Out Turn report of the government, the Public Financial Management Law and later, during the budget hearings, agencies of government will submit their respective performance reports.
Article 34 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution session, (i) requires that all revenue bills, whether subsidies, charges, imports, duties or taxes, and other financial bills, shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills. No other financial charge shall be established, fixed, laid or levied on any individual, community or locality under any pretext whatsoever except by the expressed consent of the individual, community or locality. In all such cases, a true and correct account of funds collected shall be made to the community or locality.
Tweah details that the public sector captures US$72 million, followed by Education, Health and Infrastructure.“Since our government is about pro-poor, it is clear that public sector will take huge portion of the draft budget. Today, we are here in fulfillment of the existing laws of the country which call for draft budget to be submitted to the Legislature at a given period of time,” he notes.
Receiving the draft budget, Senate President Pro Tempore Albert Chie expresses thanks for crafting the budget in time. He recommends to Finance Ministry authorities to fight against budget shortfall and assures that the senate will be happy to receive realistic budget in order to avoid shortfall in the near future. This is the first national budget submitted by the Weah Administration to the Liberian Legislature.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Editing by Jonathan Browne