Liberia: House of Representatives Approves US$24M Supplementary Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-2021

Capitol Hill, Monrovia – The House of Representatives has approved a US$24.3 million supplementary budget for fiscal year 2020/2021 to enable government deliver on programs that are critically in need of funds.

The House took the decision in Plenary on Thursday following recommendations from a conference committee comprising members of both House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate.

The decision for approval is in line with Section 18 of the Public Finance Management Act of 2009 which calls for amendment of the approved budget during the fiscal year through supplementary budgets to be approved by the Legislature.

Earlier, the House passed the supplementary budget at US$10.5m following a communication from President George Weah, and forwarded it to the Senate for concurrence. However, the amount was rejected and in a communication to the House, the Senate proposed that the budget be step up to US$24.3 million, an addition of US$13.8 million of revenue in transit.

The Senate also called for the formation of a conference committee comprising of members of both Houses to deliberate and form a single and acceptable version of the Supplementary Budget for Fiscal year 2020/2021.

The House, in a unanimous vote on Tuesday, consented and Representative Acarous Moses Gray (District #8, Montserrado County), who Chairs the Committee on Executive and serving as the presiding officer, constituted the Conference Committee members from the House to work with their Senate counterparts.

In its report Submitted on Thursday, the committee stated that, of the previous US$10.5 million submitted to the Senate, US$3.9 million is proposed as appropriation for the  public sector investment program with emphasis on road infrastructure, health, education, and aviation related projects, while US$0.600 million and US$1.129 for subsidies and debts.

The committee also noted that the additional proposal was submitted by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) in the amount of US$13.8 million be appropriated for the settlement and offset portion of Government of Liberia debt to the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI). This amount, according to the Committee, resulted from revenue in transit reconciled by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and LBDI.

The Committee, further in its recommendations, called on the MFDP to provide a schedule of the Public Sector Investment Project (PSIP) to the relevant committees for monitoring and accountability if the budget is passed.

It aalso called on MFDP to provide the total liabilities owed LBDI after payment of US$13.8 million to serve as a guide for future payments.

Meanwhile, members of the Conference Committee include Senators Prince K. Moye (CPP, Bong County), Morris S. Saytumah (CPP, Bomi County), J. Emmanuel Nuquay (PUP, Margibi County), Abraham Darius Dillon (CPP, Montserrado County) and Senator Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence (CPP, Grand Bassa County).

Members of the Committee from the House of Representatives include Reps. Thomas P. Fallah (CDC, District #5, Montserrado), Matthew Zarzar (CDC, District #3, Sinoe County), Ellen Attoh-Wreh (IND, Margibi County), Dixon Wlawlee Seboe (CDC, District #16, Montserrado), Edward Karfiah (NDC, District #5, Bong County), Clarence Massaquoi (CPP, District #3, Lofa County) and Rep. Samuel G. Kogar (PUP, District #5, Nimba County).

It can be recalled that President George Weah, in a letter accompanying the draft a US$10.5 million supplementary budget said his government has “Realized a windfall amid mounting expenditure demands for service deliverables beyond allocations in the approved budget of the Fiscal Year 2020/2021.” The FY 2020/2021 budget was approved in the tone of US$570.1 million.

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