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Transport Ministry generates US$4.6 Million

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Transport Min Bush NDThe Ministry of Transport has reported that it raised US$4.6 million in support of the 2014/2015 Fiscal Year budget.

Deputy Transport Minister Bushuben M. Keita, said US$1.3 million was raised from the recent May-June vehicle registration enforcement exercise.

Keita noted in an interview over the weekend that the enforcement exercise was carried out to ensure compliance by vehicle owners to register their vehicles in the country.

He further pointed that the ministry anticipates raising US$7 million in support of the 2015/16FY national budget currently before members of the House of Representatives, if requisite financial and logistical supports are provided to facilitate enforcement throughout the country.

“However, the ministry was still able to beat all the challenges and still raised the US$4.6million for the central government,” he disclosed.

Keita noted that the ministry was challenged to raise US$4.2 million initially at the start of Fiscal Year 2014/15, but the amount was later reduced to US$3.3 million, owing to the Ebola outbreak last year.

“What we want is to be empowered to do this, making it possible for us to be able to carry out enforcement in all parts of Liberia because enforcement around Monrovia is not sufficient to raise our targeted revenue.”

It can be recalled President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf submitted the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015/2016 Draft National Budget to the Liberian Legislature.

In a brief presentation ceremony in the Conference room of House Speaker Alex Tyler, Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Dr. James Kollie, said the President was delighted to enjoy the confidence of the Legislature and appreciated the lawmakers’ acceptance of her request for a month’s delay in submitting the FY15/16 draft nationalbudget.

The draft budget is based on a total projected resource envelop of US$604.04 million, representing 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.

Dr. Kollie also presented to the Speaker a draft law to dissolve six agencies of the government whose services and functions are moribund.

Speaker Tyler, in receiving the draft budget, promised to act speedily in presenting the instruments to the plenary of the House for onward transition to the appropriate committees for scrutiny.

Key areas of expenditure in the draft budget 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 (GOL) contribution (Counterpart Funding) to ongoing donor financed public investment projects through loans and grants (US$24.5 million), as well as GoL’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 GoL’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 National 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.

Citizens are encouraged to fully participate in these budget discussions by engaging with their representatives to ensure that the Final National Budget is representative of the country’s needs and aspirations, particularly considering the socio-economic impact caused by the Ebola virus disease. By Ben P. Wesee – Editing by Jonathan Browne

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