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Scaring & terrible!

--Simeone Freeman terms Boakai’s proposed budget 

Mr. Simeon Freeman, a three-time defeated presidential candidate, believes that President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s first draft National Budget of US$692M is empty and places less emphasis on ordinary Liberians.

By Lincoln G. Peters 

Monrovia, March 25, 2024: Liberian businessman-turned-politician Mr. Simeone Freeman has termed President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s first draft National Budget of US$692m as completely scary and terrible. 

The opposition Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) political leader addressed dozens of reports over the weekend, alleging that 92.5% of the proposed budget will be spent on government operations alone or recurring costs. 

The three-time defeated presidential candidate described President Boakai’s first draft National Budget of US$692M as empty and places less emphasis on ordinary Liberians.

Mr. Freeman suggested that it is saddening that 92.5% of the government’s proposed budget is spent on its running and operation.

He believes there is nothing inside the Budget to address ordinary Liberians’ plights and conditions adequately. 

“The proposed budget by President Boakai states that most of the revenue comes from our domestic revenue. 92.5% of this budget [is] going to be spent on [the] recurring cost of running the government, and that is completely scary and terrible,” said Mr. Freeman. 

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“So, think about it. What remains for the public? Nothing,” he argued. 

The MPC political leader said the government is mobilizing six hundred million out of the economy. Still, the money goes to government employees, cars, and upkeep, something he believes is terrible. 

Following much delay, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning submitted the draft national budget 2024 to the House of Representatives, amounting to US$692M.

Finance Minister Boimah Kamara and his three deputies submitted the draft budget on 6 March 2024, marking a crucial step in the nation’s fiscal planning and governance.

In his critique of the draft National Budget, Mr. Freeman noted that 92.5% of the instrument will be spent on recurring costs.

He stated that not much significant quality money will be spent on agriculture, the economy, and other core sectors because of the new increment in government wages and employees.

Mr. Freeman said the government should invest in the development of agriculture and create capacity for farmers across the country to reduce the importation of rice and start exporting food.

The Liberian Economist added that a large portion of the budget comes from domestic revenue, while about US$40m comes from borrowing from donor communities.

However, the MPC leader suggested that the government has not designed any strategy to bring those monies back into the Liberian economy to promote job creation and opportunities for citizens.

Freeman alleged that “There is nothing there for the public, business community, investment in the economy, and the Public Sector Investment Program.”

“President Boakai said he would train one thousand youth in ICT, but he allocated US$1.7 million to that program. Is he joking about governance and investment?” Mr. Freeman wondered.

He claimed that President Boakai’s proposed budget does not address the country’s agriculture issues or the sustainable development of Liberia’s staple food, rice.

Mr. Freeman claimed that even the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), which contributes 20% to the national government, has nothing significant to address its current debt and electricity instability.

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