LIBERIA: House Mandates Committees To Review, Scrutinize 2019/20 Budget
The House of Representatives has instructed its committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning and Public Accounts and Expenditure to review the 2019/2020 national budget recently submitted to the legislature by the Executive Branch and make a subsequent report to plenary beginning the first week in August 2019.
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), it can be recalled, submitted the National Budget for Fiscal Year 2019/2020 to the National Legislature on Friday, June 28, 2019.
The 2019/2020 budget is in the tone of US$532,906,966.00 million.
As contained in the communication which accompanied the budget, President George Manneh Weah cited that in compliance with the principle of balanced budget, the expenditure portfolio is estimated at US$532.9 million, consistent with revenue projections.
Recurrent expenditure as captured in the budget accounts for US$490.7 million representing 92.1 percent of the total expenditure while expenditure on the public sector investment plan accounts for US$42.3 million, representing 7.9 percent of the total expenditure projection.
“This budget has been drafted with strict adherence to the reality of our fiscal situation. This budget is the action which implements my promise of fiscal responsibility – no borrowing from the Central Bank of Liberia and it is credibly designed for entities to move forward with their planning,” President Weah said.
For the recurrent expenditure, the Liberian leader explained that it includes drugs in hospitals, teachers in schools, and security for citizens as major drivers of service delivery, adding that the wage bill harmonization program is a cornerstone of the rebalancing of making the Liberian budget deliver more impact for its citizens.
The exercise, according to President Weah, largely protected employees of the Health, Education, and Security sectors as well as the Foreign Service employees.
He stated that the ongoing harmonization across the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) will increase pay equity across the public sector while increasing SOEs capacity to contribute to the national budget.
Relative to employees across central government, President Weah stated that the budget considers about US$30 million of savings and makes space available for proposed pay increases for about 15,000 employees in the lowest income bracket in the Health, Education and Security sectors for amounts between US$30-50 dollars.
“US$50 to every officer of the Liberia Immigration Service, National Fire Service and Security and the Drug Enforcement Agency, US$36 and US$30 to officers of the Liberia National Police and the Armed Forces of Liberia and approximately 3,614 teachers and health workers on the supplementary payrolls earning below US$100 will earn US$100 beginning fiscal year 2019/2020,” Pres. Weah explained.