21 July 2014

Liberia: 'We Are Setting Budget Frameworks' Senator Gaye Asserts

The Co-Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways, Means and Finance has indicated that the Legislature is setting up budgetary framework and layout before commencing deliberation on the matter.

Senator G. Alphonso Gaye of Grand Gedeh County maintained that the Senate is working assiduously to ensure that the budget is dealt with before they can go for the constituency break.

He noted that the issue of the fiscal budget is high on the agenda, and it will be the focus of their legislative meetings.

"We are laying out the frame works, before the debate can start, because once we have started, there will be no turning back" the Co-Chair on the Committee of Ways Means and Finance pointed.

Senator Gaye stressed that they are working rigorously to have the budget passed before they can go on their break.

He mentioned that the fiscal period came to an end in June, and they are very mindful about their operations before it violates the Public Finance Management Law of Liberia.

"Our Committee will be holding a series of public hearings and deliberations on the budget, and we are going to painstakingly evaluate the allotments in the national budget" Senator Gaye mentioned.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has submitted the draft national budget of US$557m to the 53rd national legislature.

The new austerity budget cuts wastes in government and channels more funds to infrastructure development as set out in the Agenda for Transformation.

Consistent with the Section 11.1 of the Public Financial Management Act of 2009, President Sirleaf, through the Ministry of Finance, submitted the draft FY14/15 budget which is the last cycle of spending under austere conditions in the three year Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) introduced in 2012.

The budget focuses on investing in key areas including energy, roads, ports, security, technology, health, education, etc. that have the potential for massive social and economic returns to transform the Liberian economy.

"This draft Budget calls for a period of national sacrifice - a sacrifice that calls for better efficiency in the allocation of available resources - as government combines aggressive revenue generation with careful debt management and scaled up spending in security, energy and the road network," said President Ellen Johnson in her budget statement issued Wednesday.

The President said the new draft budget also focuses on programs and projects as the regular costs of running ministries and agencies have been cut drastically and savings moved into key public investment programs that will benefit the Liberian people.

The draft budget was developed after several months of consultations and hearings with all spending entities.

The Government has also been able to reduce fraud and waste totaling approximately US$4 million through the clean-up of the payroll by the Civil Service Agency; and has also improved service delivery by increased resource allocation to health, education and security.

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