Liberia: Hor Approves Recast COVID-19 Response Budget, Receive $17k Each

Members of Liberia's House of Representatives were seen Tuesday lining up in queues at the Central Bank of Liberia after reports emerged that of each of them signing for seventeen thousand (US$17,000.00), a day after they passed into law a recast COVID-19 budget.

The purpose of the US$17k given to each lawmaker is yet to be explained but according to sources in the legislature it is part of inducement or agreement reached between them and Executive branch of government to waive six months of arrears owed them in petroleum coupon.

When asked what the purpose of the US$17 was? One of the lawmakers who refused to speak to this paper on record said; "wait until you are a lawmaker then you will know why we are being given the check."

Over the weekend, President George M. Weah wrote the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr. Bhofal Chambers detailing the executive proposal in the draft recast budget reapportioning more than US$32 Million in the outgoing 2019-2020 national budget.

The lower house passed the budget without making any changes on the version that came from the executive.

The House's Committee on Ways, Mean, and Finance, and Public Accounts and Expenditure in line with the mandate of Plenary, conducted a hearing on the Draft Recast National Budget for Fiscal Year 2019/2020, which began with the Revenue Envelope.

According to a report from the committee, after a review of documents and testimonies from the Liberia Revenue Authority and Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the recast revenue envelope is projected to be at US$$518,005,258.00 forecasting domestic revenue at --- US$394,594,258.00 and external resources at US$123,409,000.00.

In the recast budget hearing, the committee ensures that the following measures are effectuated:

That Compensation, preserved at 100% of appropriation, although other Grants and Subsidies are risked, the essential operational budget is not impacted.

Health and Security were considered in the recasting process with emphasis on Covid-19

responses.

The revised fiscal measures provided for in the FY-2019/2020 National Budget remains in force, except otherwise specifically provided for in the Joint Resolution creating the State of Emergency and its approved stimulus package as approved by the National Legislature.

Of the US$42.02-million risked, US$32.77 million is proposed for re-appropriation for Covid-19 response, while US$2.00-million and US$8.00 million for Grant and domestic debt respectively.

The Senate is expected to vote on the budget later this week.

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