Liberia: Legislature to Begin Hearing on FY2019/2020 Draft Budget on Tuesday
Monrovia – The Liberian Legislature through its Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Development Planning and Public Accounts and Expenditure is expected to begin scrutinizing the Government of Liberia’s US$532 million National Draft Budget for fiscal year 2019/2020 on Tuesday, July 30.
According to a release from the Press Bureau of the House of Representatives, the process will begin with the revenue component of the proposed National Budget on Capitol Hill. The hearing will commence at 12 midday in the 1st Floor Conference Room, Honorable House of Representatives of the Capitol Building.
Heads of government’s ministries and state-owed enterprises are requested to submit copies of their 2018/2019 budget Performance Reports, income statement, statement of cash flows, statement of retained earnings and strategic plan as required by the Public Financial Management Law of 2009.
Ministries and agencies expected to appear before the Joint Committee on Tuesday, July 30, are the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the National Port Authority (NPA), respectively.
Over 40 government revenue generating entities are expected to appear before the Joint Committee between July 30 and August 9. The expenditure component hearing will commence immediately following the revenue portion hearing.
The commencement of scrutiny of the FY budget 2019/20 comes almost a month after the budget was submitted to the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The budget delayed more than one month before it was submitted to the Legislature.
The much-expected 2019-2020 Fiscal Year National Budget’s presentation, which should have been done on Monday, June 17, was deferred, thus raising doubts about its timely submission to the Legislature.
Critics argued that the prolonged delay in the budget submission would ultimately delay its passage since deliberations and final scrutiny may likely extend beyond 30 days.
In keeping with Section 11 of the Public Financial Management Law, the President shall submit the Proposed Budget and accompanying documents to the Legislature no later than two months before the start of the fiscal year and that the preparation of the National Budget shall conform to the process and time table set forth in Section 11.
According to the communication from President George M. Weah, dated April 23, 2019, he requested a 45-day extension of the deadline for the submission of the 2019-2020 Budget from Tuesday, April 30, to Saturday, June 15, 2019.
It may be recalled that in the President’s communication, which was read on Thursday, May 2, the 27th day sitting of the House, he made reference to the Public Financial Management (PFM) Reform Law, which mandates the Executive, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, to present the National Budget to the House of Representatives on the 30th of April of each year for the purpose of strengthening greater transparency and accountability around public resources. The President extended his regrets for not meeting this deadline.
The President argued that the delay in the presentation of 2019/2020 Fiscal Budget by six weeks (45 days) would enable him to present an all-inclusive national budget against a backdrop of negative economic forecasts.