Heritage (Monrovia)

Liberia: Ellen Finally Signs U.S.$582 Million Budget Into Law

After several months of constructive consultations with the Legislative Branch of Government, President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf, signed the budget into law on October 19, 2013, a statement from the Ministry of Finance says.

The Ministry of Finance thanked the leadership and members of both houses of the legislature for their diligence, commitment and service in this direction. The total approved budget as passed by the legislature is approximately US $ 582 million and clearly articulates the policy priorities and direction of the Government of Liberia.

The budget as passed by the Legislature and signed by the President has appropriated approximately 485 million to recurrent expenses with employees' compensation accounting for over 45% of the total recurrent budget.

In the same vein, 97 million has been appropriated over to fund our Public Sector Investment Plans consistent with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.

Sixty-five percent of this funding has been committed to National Priority Projects, while 35% to sector level projects.

On the revenue side, the government has projected to raise 432 million in tax revenue, 51 million in grants and 87 million as non-tax revenue.

Consistent with the Government commitment to ensure inclusive economic growth for its people, funding has been provided to the following sectors to fund programs and projects aligned with the essential pillars of our Agenda for Transformation and key to the success of Liberia's vision 2030: US$68m has been appropriated to the health sector.

It represents a solid commitment given the current budget is less than last year budget; US 76 million has been earmarked for the education sector, 6 million more than last year and representing the third highest spending sector; US$ 83m has been earmarked for the security and rule of law sector of which US$6m is expected to fund programs and activities relating to UNMIL drawn plan.

In more detail, funding has been committed to address programs and projects started in the first year of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and consistent with the Agenda for Transformation. In the Agriculture sector, appropriation has been made to for the support a "Small Holder Farmers Program" and upgrade knowledge management systems in the agriculture sector.

Two million has been budgeted to continue to fund our national capacity building program, through which we have managed to send between 10-15 Liberians for higher education in various disciplines to include medicine, public policy studies, and international development studies etc.

On the high-end side, over 36 million has been appropriated to finance critical infrastructure projects including roads, bridges, ports etc. Following on from MTEF Year One execution and expenditure planning, we will step up our financing commitment on the Mount Coffee Hydro Project by infusing an additional 15million in addition to the 10 million we spent last year. 4.4 million is committed to support the construction of one of three "Heavy Fuel Oil Diesel Power Plant" in addition to the US$5m we disbursed last year.

"Our road maintenance program is being financed and allocation for ongoing road projects (7million) has been made. As we continue to remain on course with our road extension programs in other parts of the country, we have become challenged with making payments for resettlement of residents and property owners in the right of way.

We have made allowances for RAP payments to pave way for key projects, like the Caldwell Bridge, Somalia Drive and parts of the Monrovia-Gbarnga-Ganta and Guinea Border project to proceed unhindered," the statement pointed out.

"In the FY13/14 budget, we took a policy decision to remove all contingent revenue sources and borrowings. In Notes to the Budget, these sources have been identified but not included in the revenue envelope on which public expenditure will be calculated." The statement continued.

"However, if these sources materialize within the fiscal year, supplemental budget requests will be made to the National Legislature for the purpose of appropriation. By this action, we have avoided raising the expectations of spending agencies and the public about the true size of the revenue envelope above what the government can deliver based on its available resources," the statement added.

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