Liberia: Senator Dillon Alarms Over Delay in Submission of Recast Budget; Stimulus Pact in Limbo
Henry Karmo [email protected]
Monrovia – When the resolution approving President George Weah’s Stimulus package was signed by both members of the House of Representatives and Senate, it was agreed that amongst many things, the executive branch of government would provide for approval by the Legislature, a recast budget.
Nearly a month later, that hasn’t happened according to Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon.
Due to the delay, the Montserrado County Senator is raising alarm by calling on those responsible to submit the recast budget in a timely manner.
According to Senator Dillon, the Ministry of Finance and Development planning has been idle since the approval of President Weah’s measures to provide stimulus package for Liberian under the state of emergency.
Senator Dillon, addressing a news conference Wednesday said since the Legislature approved the resolution to allow President Weah spend US$25 Million to provide stimulus package in food distribution and payment of small business loans for Liberians during the ongoing health crisis, the executive branch through the Ministry of Finance is yet to submit to the legislature a proposed recast budget for approval.
Said the Senator: “It is five days to go to make one month since we signed a joint resolution for the state of emergency. We approved the measures to be taken by the President with condition that the funding for those measures will be sent to the legislature for approval, but the executive has failed to submit the recast amount of that budget.”
Count 14 of the joint resolution states that all appropriation or re-appropriations approve in the joint resolution from the House of Representatives and Senate shall be subject to the recast process in accordance to the budget law
“The resolution also calls for priority to be given to the hospital systems in the 15 counties throughout the republic and the National response team. “We don’t seem to be exerting our oversight as an institution and as a senator I am concern. I am concern that pretty close to one month not a bag of rice has been given to our people,” said Senator Dillon.
The Senator added: “I don’t see the provision of PPEs, no ventilator been purchase, no health hazard benefits for health employees and others in the front line fighting this disease. The fact that a date for distribution has been determined by the Minister of Commerce, there may be an attempt to go about purchasing food without going through the recast process.”
The Montserrado County Lawmaker also expressed suspicion that the executive wants to submit a recast budget to the legislature a day or two before the commencement of food distribution to put them under pressure to swiftly approve without thoroughly scrutinizing it, a situation that could put public pressure on the legislature for delaying food distribution.
“We need time to review the recast budget so that we can do the appropriate appropriation and pass it on time to allow a speedy implementation of our people. “
Senator Dillon also informed the public that President Weah and the Executive Branch are already in breach of the budget law as they are lagging behind in submitting a draft budget for the next fiscal year which starts by April as the current fiscal period ends in June of this year.