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VP-Taylor Urges Lawmakers To Treat 2023 Budget With Urgency

By Bill W. Cooper

Liberia’s Vice-president, Jewel Howard-Taylor has urged members of the National Legislature to begin immediate deliberations of Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Budget as they commence the 6th and final session of that body.

She stated that with said urgency, it will enable lawmakers take a deeper look at the country’s proposed envelope that was submitted by the Executive Branch of government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) prior to that body’s annual break.

“I am informed that the Budget was submitted at the time when this Honorable House was on its Legislative Break. I entreat your good offices to begin immediate deliberations as we commence this 6th Regular Session and take a deeper look at the budget proposal sent for your concurrence,” VP Jewel Howard-Taylor urged.

“We must be reminded that this is President Weah’s last budget which concludes its first term in office; especially as we prepare for the conduct of National elections, and I am confident that lawmakers will ensure that this budget addresses most of the alarming situations facing the country,” she said.

Madam Taylor made the call yesterday, January 16, 20223 when she delivered her opening remark during the official opening of the 6th session of the 54th National Legislature at the Capitol Building in Monrovia in line with Article 32 (a) of the 1986 Constitution.

Article 32 (a) of the Constitution among other things states, “The Legislature shall assemble in regular session once a year on the second working Monday in January.”

Madam Taylor maintained, “I am confident that you will ensure that this budget will address the alarming situation of youth unemployment and drug abuse, improving the educational sector by looking at all issues and putting forth a comprehensive Educational Reform Program beginning with Government’s commitment to place at least 15% of the National Budget to Education; increasing access to Agricultural financing and support, especially to local farmers who have begun processing all they grow.”

“Thus ensuring that Government subsidies are made available to sectors which will improve economic activity and food security in the Rice Sector supporting, financing and providing Agro processing facilities to farmers, and improving our infrastructural facilities to jump start Processing What We Grow, as well as ensuring that the operational components are provided, especially in Foreign Affairs, Security, Health, Gender, Education and Youth and Sports amongst others,” she stressed.

According to her, as the budget reflects the operational framework of the Government; she also hopes that Legislators will provide financial support to all County Capitals and County Educational Systems; to ensure the inclusion on the payroll of all volunteer Teachers, local Government personnel and Health Care Workers.

She intoned, “It is also important to provide support for the improvement and revitalization of other key sectors such as Tourism and Economic empowerment for strengthening vulnerable groups.”

Meanwhile, Madam Taylor has at the same time called on the lawmakers to seed the need and fully fund the National Elections Commission (NEC) as means of enabling the Commission perform its electoral duty freely and timely.

“There is also a critical need to fully fund the National Elections Commission so it is able to perform all its electoral activities in a timely manner; provide funding for strengthening the Judiciary to be able to deal with the electoral issues which may arise from the elections,” VP Howard noted.

“There is consideration of funding for the completion of the long awaited coastal corridor to the South East and to provide funds for the pension of Civil Servants who have served and need to be compensated for their long tenure of Service to the State,” she emphasized.

Madam Taylor added, “I am hopeful, that the relevant committees will make the necessary adjustments in consideration of the progress made by our Government, with the expansion of our national revenue envelope by considering programs which directly impact the growth and development of our people.”

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