5 June 2014

Liberia: From U.S. $73 Million to U.S.$18.25 Million Executive Compromises On Legislature's Proposed U.S.$73 Million

Monrovia — It seems the executive branch of government and the legislature has reached a thaw in their fight over the proposed US$73 Million initially advanced by the House of Representatives for inclusion in the draft FY 2014/2015 budget.

Following more than a week wrangling over the previous budget that was submitted by the executive and the legislature denying being in possession of the said document due to what sources termed the omission of the proposed US$73 Million the executive has submitted a new budget adding US$18.25M for Direct District Development less than half of what is being proposed by the lawmakers.

"The Plenary of the House of Representatives has officially received the Draft Budget from the President of Liberia with tax, non taxable and Budget support grants amounting to US$559,349 (five hundred fifty nine Million three hundred and forty nine thousand)," stated the Legislative press office in a release issued on its website.

The legislature through its press office informed the public that the President has the President informed the House of Representatives that donor assistance amounts to US $ 650,058,155 (Six Hundred fifty Million, fifty eight thousand, one hundred and fifty five dollars). The release states that with combined Revenue and donor assistance, the Budget now stands at approximately 1.2 Billion United States Dollars.

International organizations named as contributing to the core and the contingency component of the budget include USAID, WHO,UNFPA, NIGERIA FUND, UN PEACE BUILDING FUND, AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK , UNICEF, EU, IDA, KUWAIT European development bank.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in response to the Legislature's request for Direct District Development funds advanced US $ 18. 25 Million, which she stated, is primarily for the construction of security and social infrastructure.

"According to the President of Liberia, this will accelerate economic activities in the districts and alleviate the difficulties in attracting skilled professionals for assignments away from Monrovia," stated the release.

It can be recalled that House Speaker Alex Tyler upon the submission of the first draft copy of the budget, told members of the House that the budget presented to that august body was a symbolic one and as far as he was concerned there was no budget before the legislature.

The anger of the House kindled against their colleagues in the legislature when the Senate threw out the proposal and sent it back to the House and Speaker Tyler and other members of the House were angry over the decision of the Senate to trash out the US$73 Million with him (Tyler) accusing hidden hands of influencing the senate's decision to throw the bill out.

Legislative sources hinted FrontPAgeAfrica recently that the House was set to recoil into a five-day emergency break to launch an intensive campaign in their communities in an effort to educate their people on the reasons why they insist on allotting the US73Million in the FYI 2014/2015 national budget. The Draft National Budget represents the third year of implementation Liberia's first medium term Expenditure Framework.

The submission of this Budget with the Revenue Template, Performance report, framework papers now fulfills section 12 Public Financial Management Law according to the release. "The 9th National Budget proposes development priorities with resource envelope, including revenue, budget support from donors and borrowing, over a rolling, three year period," states the release.


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