Liberia: Civil Society Organizations in Liberia Rollup Sleeves to Ensure a 'Gender Responsive' Budgeting

Monrovia — As the over half a billion-dollar 2022 National Budget hits the Legislature for debate and subsequently passage, the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) along with 19 others Civil Society Organization are calling on the August body to ensure that the 2022 National Budget is gender responsive.

President George Weah, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) in November submitted the draft national budget in the tune of US$785,587,340 for 2022.

Despite a month-long delay in the submission of the budget, President Weah, in a communication accompanying the budget, called on the Legislature to pass it in time owing to the 'significant' programs earmarked to be funded during the impending fiscal year.

Willet L. Salue is the Women NGO Secretariat. She told journalists at the head office of IREDD that in an effort to improve Gender-Responsive Planning and Budgeting (GRPB) in 2022 National Budget, IREDD and other CSO partners did a comprehensive analysis on the draft FY2022 budget submitted to the Legislature with focus on the GRPB roadmap.

Madam Salue listed some government institutions she says have the Gender-Responsive Planning and Budgeting (GRPB) Implementation Unit under the pilot program.

Madam Salue continues: "We, CSOs welcome the increased number of line ministries and agencies whose GRPB units are now been funded directly through the budget although meager. However, we are concerned that the GRPB appropriations of 2022 to line ministries are not disaggregated to reflect actual programs and activities that the appropriations will be spent on to enable performance monitoring and tracking of the GRPB budget for these institutions."

According to the CSOs, the MFDP and partners are determined to continue the implementation of the pilot program of GRPB in the FY2022 budget under a revised roadmap.

This, Madam Salue, gives out several recommendations that she says will enhance the GRPB implementation Units in the different line ministries and agencies.

"The message is clear, ignoring gender inequalities during national budget formulation and planning processes will reflect Liberia's inability to develop sustainably and create inclusive governance plans that are gender sensitive. No, this cannot continue to happen," she said.

Madam Salue added: "Now, therefore, IREDD, in collaboration with other CSO partners with interest in GRPB want the enactment of the GRPB legislation."

She added that the Gender-Responsive Planning Budgeting Policy be enacted into law to ensure the mandatory implementation of GRBP across all government line ministries and agencies.

Also, a demarcation of role and responsibility should be established between the MFDP and Gender Ministry to enhance coordination and implementation of the GRPB Programs and activities, she says.

This, Madam Salue says, the apportionment of clear role and responsibility to the two ministries will ensure performance accountability and ascertain results to inform the national budgeting process.

She furthers that the government needs to completely roll-out the GRBP across all line ministries and agencies instead of the six piloted ministries since GRPB was introduced in Liberia.

Madam Salue disclosed that the GRBP must disaggregate activities or programs based on need to ensure transparency and accountability within the FY-2022 budget.

"As Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) one of our roles is to proffer and advocate ideas of good governance processes and systems that promote transparency and accountability, socio-economic justice, respect for rule of law consistent with best practices. Gender-Responsive Planning and Budgeting is an emerging focus that Liberia needs to fully comply with," Madam Salue said.

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