Senate approves USD 782,943,000 Budget
By Ethel A. Tweh
The plenary of the Liberian Senate has concurred with the House of Representatives for the passage of a US$782,943,000 Budget for the fiscal year 2023.
On Thursday, 2 March 2023, 16 out of 19 Senators voted yes for the passage of the Budget. The three senators that voted against the passage of the budget are Senators Abraham Darius Dillon of Montserrado County, Nyonblee Kangar Lawrence of Grand Bassa County, and Boycharles Sogbie of RiverGee County.
According to the report from the committee on Ways, Means, Finance, and Budget, the proposed Envelope submitted to the Legislature was USD 777,943,000.00.
It also stated that there was an additional revenue from budget hearings to the tune of USD 16,589,682.00, bringing it to a total revenue proposed by the House of Representatives of USD 794.532.681.83.
The report also reflected a shortfall in projected revenue collection in the 2022 National Budget and forecasted possible tax collection challenges in this election year of 2023.
The Senate’s Ways, Means, Finance, and Budget Committee has adjusted the additional revenue figure downwards from $16,589,682.00 to $5,000,000.00.
The revised total revenue envelope of USD 782,943,000.00 was proposed for the consideration of the Senate Plenary.
Additionally, US$6m for salary adjustment for civil servants for the minimum wage has been secured in the 2023 Budget. Health, Security, and education sectors have received a significant increment due to the ensuing Presidential and Legislative Elections scheduled to take place in October.
The Senate said it will monitor the execution of the 2023 National Budget and the implementation of the various programs through its oversight responsibilities.
Areas to be evaluated and monitored include the domestic debt profile, portfolio, and settlement, programs in key sectors such as revenue generation and expenditure, and health, education, and agriculture.
Meanwhile, the Senate made adjustments to the fiscal measures and proposed that all monies invoiced by the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Health, and the Public Health Institute shall be paid into the Consolidated Account.
The revenue sharing ratio between the Government of Liberia and the Maritime Authority and between the Government of Liberia and the Liberia Telecommunications Authority shall be reviewed by the Senate.
Through its oversight responsibilities, the Senate shall ensure that public corporations and state enterprises make just and fair contributions to the 2023 National Budget.
To ensure that major highways leading to county capitals remain pliable, especially during the rainy season, a minimum of US$5.0 million shall be set aside under the National Road Fund for three major road corridors: Kanweaken, River Gee County, to Tappita, Nimba County; Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, to Barclayville, Grand Kru County; and Gbarnga, Bong County, through Zorzor, Lofa County.