Liberia: Senate Concurs with House on Passage of Draft Nat’l Budget for FY2018-19; Ratifies Africa Export-Import Bank Agreement
Monrovia – The Senate Wednesday, June 27, concurred with the House of Representatives on the passage of the draft budget for the fiscal year 2018/2019 and the ratification of the of an act to establish in Liberia, the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK).
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
The Senate took the decision in a special session after they received the two instruments from the House of Representatives a day before. The two instruments received majority votes from Senate members, who were present.
Senators Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County and Peter Coleman of Grand Kru County had some unsettled issues with the instruments and expressed un-readiness to vote on the matter until those issues were resolved but they were asked to express their un-readiness through their vote by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, who presided over the Special Session.
On Monday, April 30, President George Weah submitted the 2018/2019 Draft National Budget in keeping with Section 11(1) of the Public Financial Management Act of 2009, which requires the Executive Branch of Government to submit to the Liberian Legislature, the proposed budget along with accompanying documents no later than two months before the start of the fiscal year.
The Legislature, through its Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Public Accounts, conducted due process by entertaining opened hearings on the President’s revenue and spending proposals.
The process encouraged public engagement that highlighted the President’s ‘pro-poor’ vision of navigating the country’s economic development by thinking out of the box and proactively opening a new horizon.
The review and validation processes identified US$8 million as additional and encumbered revenue; thus a total of US$570,148,000 is the new Revenue Envelope for fiscal year 2018/2019.
The approved revenue envelop leaped from President Weah’s projected total of US$562.2 million to US$570.148 with concentration directed to Private Sector Investment initiatives.
Like the budget, the bill titled, “An Act Ratifying the Agreement for the Establishment of the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), was submitted by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the 53rd Legislature in 2017 and was resubmitted by President Weah to the 54th.
The bank, when established, will increase credit and trade financing to Liberian customers and investors, provide risk bearing guarantees and credit insurance and provide trade information and advisory service.
In 1993, African governments and combination of African and global investors established the AFREXIMBANK to connect public and private sectors across Africa, and to facilitate finance.
The bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt, and has three regional offices located in Abuja, Nigeria; Harare, Zimbabwe and Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.