Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and the West African Examination Council (WAEC) Registrar General Mr. Dale Gbotoe were kicked out of the budget hearing session on Monday by a joint legislative committee on Capitol Hill for their failures to provide explanation on request for budgetary allotments in the 2017/2018 national draft budget.
Both officials had appeared before the joint committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget of the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate on Monday, 18 June for a budget hearing.
Appearing at the William Richard Tolbert Joint Chambers of the Capitol Building in Monrovia, Monday, the two senior officials of the executive branch found it very difficult to explain why there should be increment in allocations for their respective institutions.
They could not justify why the joint committee should accept the amounts attached in their various draft budgets.
Dr. Jallah and the Health Ministry had submitted the total of US$58 million to the Legislature for possible consideration by the committee.
The Health Minister was questioned by Montserrado County Representative and Committee Chair Thomas Fallah over the request to increase the ministry’s budget from US$54 million which it received in 2016/17 budget year.
But Minister Jallah fumbled over Rep. Fallah’s inquiry and tried to seek assistance from her deputy for administration and the comptroller, bending her head to the floor.
Unfortunately for Minister Jallah, members of the committee looked very dismayed in the failure of the minister to defend her allocation as her search for assistance from her deputies yielded no result.
The Health Ministry officials also reportedly failed to include donor funding to the health sector.
When further quizzed by River Gee County Representative Francis Dopoh as to why the US$11 million committed by the donor community was not reflected in the ministry’s budget, Dr. Jallah again became dumbfounded before the committee.
Given the drama, Montserrado County Representative Dixon Sebo made a motion that the ministry be sent back home to put its house in order.
Similarly, WAEC boss Mr. Gbotoe failed to explain the US$60.00 charged by the agency to every student, and how WAEC arrived at the figure and how the amount is expended.
Mr. Gbotoe stood mute as lawmakers tried to quiz him further, prompting Representative Fallah to ask the WAEC boss to leave and prepare in the near future.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley