Members of the House of Representatives have passed the draft 2017/18 national budget and has subsequently forwarded it to members of the Liberian Senate for possible concurrence.
The Plenary of the House voted in Session Tuesday, 18 July for the passage of the budget which is in the tune of US$526,548,000.00. The 2017/18 national draft budget was submitted to the Liberian Legislature by the Executive Branch of government for scrutiny and passage. Following the passage in Plenary, Bong County Representative Prince Moye, who is the chairman on Ways, Means, Finance, and Budget, reported that the budget is now off the shoulders of the lower house.
According to Rep. Moye, the committee submitted the Budget to Plenary for passage after vigorous and thorough scrutiny of the instrument along with authorities of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, line ministries and agencies, the Liberia Revenue Authority and members of the public. He reports that during the cross – examination of the budget, his committee was able to discover US$37,015,432.00 as additional and unencumbered revenue.
Rep. Moye told the media that of the total amount, US$11,968,188 is considered as contingent revenue comprising tax, non tax, and the World Bank Millennium Challenge Corporation Road Fund, while US$25,047,244.00 is considered as a core revenue comprising also tax, and the World Bank Millennium Corporation Road Fund.
“After all of these adjustments in both core and contingent revenue, we realized a net effect in terms of additional and unencumbered revenue of over US$37 million, thus, bringing the total adjusted revenue for fiscal year 2017/18 to US$563,563,423.00”, he says.
According to Rep. Moye, the amount when converted to Liberian Dollars is LRD$61,428,414,088.00 or (sixty one billon, four hundred twenty eight million, four hundred fourteen thousand, eighty eight Liberian dollars).
He narrates that the US$37 was submitted to the Executive Branch. Taking into consideration critical needs in the justice and security sector, health, education, infrastructure, the judiciary, and the pending 2017 Representatives and Presidential elections, he says there were some apportionment made in such direction.
In keeping with the Constitution of Liberia, the Executive Branch of government on 21 May submitted to the Liberian Legislature the fiscal year draft budget 2017/2018 in the tune of US$ 526.6 million.
It accounts for 12.3 % reduction from the US$ 600.2 million approved for FY2016/2017, reflecting 3.5% decrease on the end of year forecast of US$ 545.5 million.The budget [indicates] that the total revenue envelope comprises of US$ 483.7 million in revenue raised from domestic sources (taxes and non-tax revenue).In the budget presented to the Legislature, tax revenue of US$393.6 Million is decreased by 8.8 percent from the approved amount for FY2016/17 budget with non-tax revenue of US$90.2 Million.
There is US$ 37.9 million in grants from external sources and US$4.8 million in contingent revenue from domestic resources.The budget also shows that Non-Tax revenue of US$90.2 is projected to decrease by 8.2 percent compared to the US$98.3 million that was approved in the FY-2016/2017 budget.
According to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, this is an improvement to the current year-end estimated and is driven by anticipated increase in petroleum storage fees, forestry, mineral mining, cellular mobile networks, as well as expected improvements in State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) like Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, National Port Authority and others.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by Winston W. Parley