The Liberian Senate, as part of efforts to speed up with the implementation of the Pro-Poor Agenda of the Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), has concurred with the House of Representatives on the passage of the National Budget for fiscal year 2018/2019.
The body reached the decision Thursday, June 28, 2018, during its 40th day sitting.
It can be recalled the House of Representatives on Tuesday passed into law President George Weah first national Budget in the amount of US$570.148 million or its equivalence of L$84,333,327,390.40 billion.
According to the Committees, it identified US$8 million additional and encumbered revenue from the US$562.148 million projected by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), with a total revenue envelope of US$570,148,000.00 or its Liberian dollars equivalence of L$84,333,327,390.40 at an average exchange of L$147.9148 to US$1.
The Lower Chambers passed the budget and subsequently forwarded it to the Senate, widely referred to locally as the “House of Elders” for its concurrence.
Members of the upper Chamber chose to have a special sitting yesterday so as to do an analysis of the national budget, and if need be concur with their Colleagues.
As it was expected, the House of Elders in their deliberations yesterday joined members of the House of Representatives to concur and subsequently forward the National Budget to the Executive for final approval.
Providing a detailed analysis of the budget on Tuesday before passage by the House of Representatives, the Chairman of the Joint Committee, Montserrado County District # 5 Representative, Thomas P. Jallah, indicated that the committee conducted a vigorous and thorough scrutiny of the draft National budget by ensuring a comprehensive and participatory review of both revenue and expenditure components of the draft budget.
He said the revenue and scrutiny processes involved the Legislature, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the line ministries and agencies, civil society groups, and the public.
According to Rep Fallah, the review and validation processes identified Eight Million United States Dollars (US$8m) additional and encumbered revenue.
The joint Committee Chairman noted that compensation which was submitted at US$ 3034 m has a Legislative Recast of US$ 310.4m while Goods and Services which initially had US$ 78.9m have a legislative recast of US$91.1m.
Additionally, he indicated that for Subsidies, the original submission was US$ 1.5 million, and grants amount to US$ 63.9 million, and US$ 0.48 million is captured for social benefits, while nonfinancial assets were submitted at US$ 11 and Legislative recast amounts to US$ 15.12 million.
For debt, US$ 30 million is captured, while PSIP which was originally submitted at US$73.4 and Legislative recast amount to US$ 58.08.
He added that the demands are high and the revenue envelope is tight, but there is a potential for growth in terms of revenue generation.
With respect to the Public Financial Management Act (PFM) law of 2009, the Executive is obliged to submit the draft National Budget on or before April 30 of every fiscal year, and the Legislature is under the obligation per the law to pass the budget on or before June 30.