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Executive submits US$777.94M budget for 2023

The Executive Branch through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has submitted to the House of Representatives the proposed 2023 National Budget to the tune of US$777.94 million.

During the presentation, Monday, 5 December 2022 on Capitol Hill, Deputy Finance Minister for Budget and Development Planning, Tanneh Geraldine Brunson, said external resources amounted to US$110m of the amount.

According to a release from the Press Bureau of the House of Representatives, the submission is in line with Section 65 of the Amendment and Restatement of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act of 2009.

The Press Bureau explained that the Act provides for the change in the fiscal year and for the formulation of a special national budget of six months to pave the way for the transition to the new fiscal year, which began in 2022.

“We present the Draft National Budget noting that over this fiscal year, domestic economic activities have been reasonably robust with revenue performing better than expected at mid-year,” said Madam Brunson.

Despite external shocks resulting from escalating global prices of essential commodities and depressed export earnings, she said the macroeconomic fundamentals of Liberia’s economy remained resilient.

She argued that the Liberian dollar maintained a stable exchange rate against the United States dollar, and inflationary pressures were kept in check. 

“These were achieved due to stringent fiscal and monetary measures instituted by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Central Bank of Liberia, respectively, over the past several months,” said Madam Brunson. 

According to her, the medium-term objective is to further enhance macroeconomic stability by upgrading the monetary policy framework and concluding the currency swap.

The Finance Ministry Official added that despite an optimistic outlook, considerable challenges remain in the areas of youth unemployment and infrastructural transformation. 

“In addition, the national debt burden has inhibited our allocation choices as a substantial amount of current outlay is directed towards debt repayment,” said Brunson.

She indicated that as Liberians gear up for presidential and legislative elections in 2023, the focus is on enabling the democratic space by facilitating a smooth election process.

She spoke of boosting investors’ confidence and reassuring the citizenry and development partners of the government’s determination to maintain macroeconomic steadiness.

Madam Brunson said the recurrent component of expenditure is US$623.95 million, including $91.57m for debt servicing, while the total cost of the Public Sector Investment project is to the tune of US$153.99 million.

She also cited key allocations for national spending priorities which include CLSG Allocation 46.00m, National Road Fund 26.82m, and Elections, 37.00 m, respectively.

To enhance fiscal transparency and fiscal year (FY) 2023 Public Participation Mechanism initiatives, she said for the first time since 2012 when the government acceded to the transparency indices, town hall consultations were conducted across five counties to solicit inputs from its citizens on revenue options and expenditure priorities. 

Meanwhile, she said the role of the House of Representatives in these endeavors is pivotal, to say the least.

Deputy Minister Tanneh Brunson emphasized the essence of time in respect of completing programs and projects reflected in the financial instrument.

She added that preliminary activities leading to the conduct of elections throughout the country are well underway.

She explained that many others including updating the voters’ roll and public awareness activities are yet to commence, thus requesting the usual and expedited deliberation and passage of the proposed National Budget for its timely implementation.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers has lauded the Ministry of Finance for the submission.

Speaker Chambers committed the Legislature to deliberating the instrument in the interest of the country and its people.–Press release

NewDawn

The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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