Liberia: House Of Representatives Set To Begin Budget Performance Report Hearing For Fiscal Years 2022, 2023
CAPITOL HILL, Monrovia – Following its members’ return from their constituent break, the House of Representatives through its Committee on Ways, Means, and Finance is expected to begin budget performance report hearing for various line ministries and agencies.
By Gerald C. Koinyeneh – [email protected]
The hearing is geared towards reviewing the spending of public funds by these entities to ensure that they are fulfilling their objectives in an efficient and effective manner, according to a release from the House Press and Public Affairs Bureau.
This will involve the assessment of whether the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and agencies are using the resources allocated to them in the budget appropriately and achieving the expected results, the release noted.
The hearing will focus on the entities’ performances for FY- 2022 consolidated report, FY – 2023 first quarter report and FY- 2023 revenue performance to-date (for revenue generating agency only).
The appearance of the SOEs is consistent with Section 8a of the Budget Law 2023.
In a set of recommendations adopted during the passage of the budget in February this year, the 54th Legislature mandated all spending and revenue generating entities to submit quarterly reports to the Legislature through a specified procedure and reporting template to be regulated by the Legislative Budget office (LBO).
This is in line with the decision adopted by the Joint Budget Committee, demanding all spending entities including line ministries and agencies to submit their performance reports for the past fiscal year as they defended their budget for FY2023.
The 54th Legislature had come under staunch criticism for their “failure” to thoroughly scrutinize the national budgets that have been submitted by the Executive in the past.
Last year, a number of legislators from the opposition bloc claimed that the budget was hastily passed without a proper scrutiny as spending entities did not submit their performance reports as required by Section 36 of the PFM Law.
The law, among other things, states that “It is a general responsibility under this Act for all government officials handling public financial transactions to ensure that financial information is reported in a timely, comprehensive, and accurate manner, in the manner prescribed in this Act, under its regulations, and in instructions issued by the Minister.”
Meanwhile, the hearing which kicks off this Thursday, 25th of May, will see the appearance of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Ministry of Finance Development Planning and the Bureau of State Enterprises.
On Friday, 26 May, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority, Liberia Immigration Service and National Road Fund will take the witness stand. Then on Monday, 29th of May, the Liberia Maritime Authority, Ministries Labor, Mines & Energy, and the Forestry Development Authority will be ushered in. And this will be followed by the Ministry of Justice, National Port Authority, Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company, and the National Fisheries and Acqua Cultural Authority on Tuesday, the 30th of May.
The Ministry of Health, National Public Health Institute, and the Ministry of Education are entities that have been queued in to appear on 31st of May. The committee will climax the hearing on the 1st of June with the Ministries of Commerce, Agriculture, and Public Works appearing:
Meanwhile, the Committee has warned that it will invoke Sections f & g of the Budget Law 2023, which called for punitive measures against any public entities that will not comply with the Legislature’s mandate, coupled with available sanctions as expressed in the Public Financial Management Act, and House’s Rules and Procedures.