The Liberian Government, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has submitted to the office of Speaker Alex Tyler, a draft national budget for the 2016/17 fiscal year.
Speaking at the Capitol during the presentation, Finance and Development Planning Minister Boima Kamara said the total projected revenue envelop was US$555.9m, comprising US$495.5m for Core Domestic Revenue, US$30.2m as Grant and US$30.1m as Contingent Domestic Revenue.
The contingency is due to the fact that the Legislature must approve some measures before these sources can be realized. “We have endeavored to keep social spending on health at US$77m, education at US$83m and social development at 10.5m. Additionally, we have allocated US$20m towards elections, US$10 for UNMIL drawdown, US$5m for Agriculture, US$15m for road construction, as well as US$3m for Road Maintenance Fund and US$1.5m for the airport runway rehabilitation,” said Minister Kamara.
He indicated that by no measures are these amounts enough to handle the issues mentioned, but at this point, “this is what we can afford”. “What we have done in this budget is to prepare an Unfunded Contingent Envelop of US$140m, which considers a number of key investments that will help to diversify and grow of the economy.
He told the Speaker that it rested with the approval of the Legislature for the government to seek donor funding either in grant or loan to help underwrite these expenditure. The minister also told reporters at the Capitol Building after his presentation that his administration was making every effort available to make the issue of ‘budget shortfall’ history, emphasizing that the national envelop will be managed in that whatever allotted to ministries and institutions will be fully delivered, provided if the country did not encounter ‘budget shortfall’ again.
In response, Speaker Tyler expressed thanks and appreciations for the level corporation received so far from the Finance Ministry. He expressed the hope that the House of Representatives will speedily take the relevance steps in making sure that the budget is passed on time.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor