16 May 2014

Liberia: Fiscal Budget Submission Delayed

What appears to be the usual blame game over the country's national budget between the Executive and Legislative branches of government has begun as the Executive is yet to submit the budget to the Legislature.

The budget reflects fiscal spending under the three-year Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) introduced by government.

According to Section 11 of the Public Financial Act of 2009, the budget needs to be submitted to the Legislature by the Executive on April 30 each year for scrutiny.

The PFM Act, which speaks of budget reparation cycle and calendar, mandates the President to submit the proposed budget and accompanying documents to the Legislature no later than two months before the start of the fiscal year. Fiscal year runs from July 1-June 30 each year.

According to the PFM Act, budget preparation cycle shall consist two phases, the first concentrates on preparation of a budget framework paper and budget circular, and the second is concentrating on preparation of detailed annual budget that addresses policies and priorities set out in the budget framework paper.

The President is under obligation to include in her budget presentation a budget framework paper; detailed annual budget estimates set alongside the previous budget year outturns, current year original budget as well as the actual outturn based on available data, and projected outturns for the current year.

The details and contents of the annual budget estimate shall be defined in regulations issued by the Minister under this Act.

The law states that an instrument for the Legislature's consideration, which lays out any change (s) in the tax and non-tax revenue policy regimes, shall be presented not later than the date of submission of the budget estimates to the Legislature.

However, a source closed to Capitol building who hinted The NEWS said the Legislature has not received any written communication from the Executive as to why it is delaying the submission of the budget.

Expressing concern over the delay of the budget by the Executive branch, Grand Bassa County Representative Byron Browne informed Speaker Alex that the delay is a violation of the PFM Act.

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