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Senate passes 2015/16 budget

Capitol Building DoomMembers of the Liberian Senate have overwhelmingly voted on the passage of the 2015/16 National draft budget for onward submission to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for possible signing and subsequent printing into handbill as a financial guiding instrument for the administration.

The senate, on Thursday during its regular session at the Capitol Building in Monrovia, took the decision, but members of both Ways, Means, and Finance and Budget Committees, as well as President Pro Tempore ArmahJallah refused to speak to the press about the passage.

By tradition, after passing the budget, a senior member of the Legislature addresses the press to give an insight regarding its status and changes that may have been made in the budget.

The Pro Tempore, to the dismay of many, walked straight to his office on Thursday following the vote, without uttering a word to the media.

On June 1, 2015, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf submitted the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015/2016 Draft National Budget to the Legislature through the office of the Speaker Alex Tyler of the House of Representatives.

The FY15/16 budget is the first year estimate of Liberia’s second Medium-Term Expenditure Framework or MTEF, budget program which supports the Agenda for Transformation or AfT, a post-Ebola Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan, as well as, the UNMIL transition program.

The Cabinet, in its meeting of Saturday, May 30, 2015, approved the Draft Budget based on a total projected resource envelop of US$604.04 million. The amount represents Domestic Revenue of US$465.61million; Grants/Budget Support of US$66.23 million; Borrowing of US$58.61; and Carry-forward (surplus from FY2014/15) of US$13.58 million.

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Along with the approval of the projected resource envelop, the Cabinet also agreed that key areas of expenditure will include debt repayment (US$32.5 million); payment of salaries across the government (US$252.1 million); Social Development Fund and other pass through (US$23.2 million); Health Sector Strengthening (US$73.0 million); Education Sector Support (US$79.4 million) and Security & Rule of Law (US$90.1 million), including (US$15 million for UNMIL Transition), as First Claims on the resource envelop.

Other key areas of funding agreed by the Cabinet include the Government of Liberia’s contribution (Counterpart Funding) to ongoing donor financed public investment projects through loans and grants (US$24.5 million), as well as, government’s Grants and Transfers to various institutions and entities (US$85.7 million) that contribute to Liberia’s socio-economic reconstruction.

In support of major Public Sector Investments intended to advance Liberia’s post-Ebola recovery, growth, and development, the Cabinet agreed to fund road construction and maintenance (US$44.3 million, including US$17.3 million as the government’s contribution to donor funded projects), renovation of public buildings (US$9 million); expansion of electricity (US$2.4 million); district development projects throughout the country – through the Legislature (US$10.9 million); water & sanitation (US$2.3 million); beach & waterways cleaning (US$1million); human capacity-building (US$2 million); private sector development (US$1.5 million); National Low Cost Housing Project (US$1.5 million); LWSC Water Project (US$1.0 million); renovation works at BWI (US$1 million); renovation works at Tubman University (US$1 million); and a host of other key interventions critical for the delivery of social services and economic transformation. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor – Editing by George Barpeen

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