28 May 2012

Liberia: Cabinet Endorses Three Year Budget Today

Photo: Boakai Fofana/allAfrica
The long-term Budget focuses on the delivery of essential services like refuse collection and sanitation.

The cabinet with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf presiding is expected to approve the country's first medium term budget proposed and drafted by Liberia Treasury house, the Ministry of Finance.

After cabinet endorsement, the three-year budget will be submitted to the National Legislature Wednesday, May 30th, for passage, the Director of Communication at the Ministry of finance Sidike Trawally said in a release issued yesterday.

The cabinet's approval of the budget, nicknamed "Bare Bone Budget" on Monday will be central to Government setting out a clear vision that outline the direction of Government spending.

The composition of the Budget is tied to the policy priorities of the Government to ensure the growth of Liberia and create a prosperous, fair, educated and free country.

The Budget, as Liberia's medium term economic growth and development strategy has been crafted to drive Liberia towards making the country a middle income country by 2030.

The three years budget which is first of its kind is straightly developmental driven, and will be different from previous budgets that were submitted and subsequently passed into law by members of the Low and Upper Houses.

In the past Liberia have had an incremental line-based budget which for a long time presented the Country's spending plans on an annual basis.

All Ministries and Agencies were expected to get an increase in the budget regardless of their performances, policy objectives or impart of the projects on the country's development agenda.

As a result, 80% of the budget in the past was spent on recurrent, discretionary items such as fuel, communication and operations among others, finance officials said.

But there are several reasons why the Liberian Government is implementing several changes within the new budget which is three years driven.

According to the Public Finance Management Act of 2009, Liberia is required to adopt a Medium Term Expenditure Framework for the Fiscal Year 12/13.

Therefore the Government of Liberia wants to achieve a lot, building the hydro, promoting job creation for the youth, building roads, keeping peace and security, delivering essential services particularly in health, education and water.

At the same time the budget happens on an annual basis but policy objectives and delivering national projects cannot be achieved in a single year. Therefore a multi-year perspective is required.

In addition this Medium Term Expenditure Framework will enable government reconcile long term spending needs with short term resource availability. This provides the framework for Government to make annual decisions, as a result when the Legislature shall have approved the Draft National Budget they will have knowledge about the medium term plans and objectives of Ministries and Agencies.

Further this makes the budget more predictable, coverage more comprehensive and the use of the resources more transparent.

This new medium term budget is gear toward achieving measurable results for Liberia and its people. The Medium Term Expenditure Framework has led to a fundamental change in the budgeting process.

Meanwhile, the Medium Term Budget will specifically focus on four main priority areas A. Energy, Transport, Port, and Technology. B. Youth Empowerment, C. Capacity building and 4. Reconciliation.

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