By Bill W. Cooper
The plenary of the Liberian Senate has concurred with the House of Representatives, with a simple majority vote of 13 and one abstention, to approve the supplementary budget in the tune of US$24.3 million for fiscal year 2020/2021.
Senators voted to concur with the HoR on Tuesday, March 2, during its 14th Day Sitting of the 4th Session following a report from the joint Conference Committees set up by both Houses to resolve the outstanding issues on the supplementary budget earlier submitted by the House.
The Senate’s decision came days after the House of Representatives passed the supplementary budget based on the report from the conference committee intended for the government to deliver on programs that are in critical need of funds in line with Section 18 of the Public Finance Management Act of 2009 which calls for the amendment of the approved budget supplementary budgets to be approved by the legislature.
The Senate, in its report read in plenary yesterday by the Secretary of Senate, Naborlor Singbe said, “The passage of the supplementary budget in the tone of US$10.5m from the Executive Branch was approved by the House of Representatives; and that the total revenue envelop of US$9m was identified from revenue generating entities as “Domestic Revenue and US$1.5m was identified as External Revenue Grant from the United Kingdom and that the US$10.5m submitted to the Senate by the House of Representatives, US$3.9m is proposed as appropriation for the Public Sector Investment Programs with emphasis on roads Infrastructure, health, education and aviation related projects, while US$0.600m and US$1.129m for subsidies and debts.”
It added, “That additional proposal was submitted by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in the amount of US$13.8m he appropriated for the settlement and offset portion of Government of Liberia Debt to LBDI. This amount resulted from Revenue in Transit reconciled by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and LBDI, and that the total budget of US$24.3m be passed by the Legislature as the supplementary budget.”
The report further proposed passage of “An Act to approve the Supplementary Budget for the Fiscal Period Beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021, providing for the expenditure of the Government of the Republic of Liberia in the tone of US$24.3m be approved; that upon the passage, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MPDP) provides a schedule of the PSIP to the relevant committees for monitoring and accountability and that upon passage, MPDP provides the total liabilities owed LBDI after the payment of US$13.8m to serve as a guide to payments.
However, prior to the latest approval, the House of Representatives passed the supplementary budget at US$10.5 million following a communication from President George M. Weah, which instrument was forwarded to the Liberian Senate for concurrence.
Notably, the Senate did not concur due to some issues with the amount something which caused the Senate to send a communication to the House and they proposed that the budget be set up to US$24.3 million, an addition of US$13.8 million of revenue in transit as well as calling for a conference committee to be set up by both Houses.
Members of the House Committee included Reps. Thomas Fallah; Mathew Zarzar; Ellen Attoh-Wreh; Dixon Seboe; Edward Karfiah; Clarence Massaquoi and Rep. Samuel Kogar, while the Senate Committee included Senators Prince Moyee; Morris Saytumah; J. Emmanuel Nuquay; Abraham Darius Dillon and Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence.
It can be recalled that President George M. Weah wrote the House of Representatives that 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 Liberian leader further outlined his expenditures as follows: RIA route pavement US$900,000; Public school chair project US$700,000; Transformer project US$600,000; Hospital beds US$500,000; Legislative goods and services US$1.4m; domestic travels US$400,000; vehicle repairs and maintenance US$300,000; and constituency travels US$900,000.
Others are vehicle fuel and lubricants US$400,000; generator fuel US$600,000; printing, binding and publication US$250,000; Telecommunication, internet and ICT supplies, US$250,000; RIA residential lounge US$250,000; public schools renovation $250,000; GOL obligation to the African Union US$1,129,695; Foreign Missions Operations US$370,305 and subsidy compensation related US$600,000.
The President added that the additional US$13.8m was provided by the MFPD to off-set the debt to LBDI.
Senate Concurs With HoR On Supplementary Budget
By Bill W. Cooper