The likelihood is high for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to sign the national fiscal budget today in contrast to claims by some lawmakers that she has refused to do so, according to Rep. Prince Moye, co-chair on the Ways, Means and Finance Committee of the House of Representatives. "I am hopeful that the President may likely sign the budget today," Rep. Moye told this paper when contacted via mobile phone yesterday morning. There have been claims by some lawmakers that the President has reneged on signing the national budget though the national legislature endorsed it weeks ago. In an interview recently, Rep. George Mulbah, chair on House's Defense Committee told this paper that President Sirleaf has refused to sign the budget. He said the legislature endorsed the budget and submitted it to President Sirleaf before she departed for the UN general assembly in New York butte did not sign it.
"I believe this is a partial shutdown of the government. The President has not taken any decision on the budget, " Rep. Mulbah, repeated Tuesday to this paper. He emphasized that the delay by the President to sign the budget has rendered most government's agencies paralyzed since the PFM (Public Financial Management) law can only allow them to use 1/12 of the budget to pay salaries of government employees. "The legislature has acted on the budget; it is only the President who is now remaining to act. But she has not acted (signed) on the budget.
This is something very serious," he stressed. Nevertheless, Rep. Moye, when contacted concerning the matter, said that the budget was still at the legislature prior to the President's departure from the country. "When we passed the budget, the speaker of the House, Rep. Alex Tyler was supposed to sign it but he was not in the country. The vice President too was supposed to sign it before sending it to the President for her to sign it. "But we did not do all of these exercises before the President could leave the country. And when she returned, also, she was busy with other engagements. But I am hopeful that by tomorrow (Monday) she would sign it," Rep. Moye assured this paper during a phone chat. The country has now gone into its third month within the fiscal year without a working budget thus rendering most of its institutions dysfunctional. Meanwhile, members of both Houses are yet to conclude a deadlock on the appropriation of a US$5.3 million allotted in the budget for development projects in their constituencies.