By Jerromie S. Walters
Capitol Hill, Monrovia, Liberia, December 7, 2022: The Honorable House of Representatives has mandated its Ways, Means, and Finance committee to review the 2023 draft national budget, which was recently submitted by the Executive Branch on Monday, December 5, 2022.
The Executive Branch, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP submitted to the Honorable House of Representatives the proposed national budget in the amount of US$777.94 million.
In a communication to plenary during its 12th day sitting on Tuesday, December 5, 2022, President George Weah said the proposed national budget for the period beginning January 1, 2023, and ending December 31, 2023 is in compliance with Section 17.1 of the Public Financial Management Act.
“Since I submitted the FY2022 Budget and its subsequent restatement, domestic economic activities have been reasonably robust, with revenue performing better than expected at mid-year,” President Weah said.
But the committee is supposed to give a report to the whole group within two weeks.
During the presentation Monday, December 5, 2022, on Capitol Hill, Deputy Minister for Budget and Development Planning, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Tanneh Geraldine Brunson, said of the total amount of external resources, US$110.00 million will be accounted for.
The submission is in line with Section 65 of the amendment and restatement of the PFM Act of 2009, which provides for the change in the fiscal year and for the formulation of a special national budget of six months to pave the way for the transition to the new fiscal year, which started in 2022.
“We present the draft national budget, noting that over this fiscal year, domestic economic activities have been reasonably robust, with revenue performing better than expected at mid-year. “Despite external shocks resulting from escalating global prices of essential commodities and depressed export earnings, the macroeconomic fundamentals of our economy have remained resilient, with the Liberian dollar maintaining a stable exchange rate against the United States dollar and inflationary pressures kept in check,” she narrated.
She continues, “These were achieved due to stringent fiscal and monetary measures instituted by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Central Bank of Liberia, respectively, over the past several months. “The medium-term objective is to further enhance macroeconomic stability by upgrading the monetary policy framework and concluding the currency swap.”
However, House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers, upon receiving the draft national budget, expressed hope that it would serve the best interests of the people.
“We are thankful for the submission, though it came late, but better late than never.” We hope it will serve the best interests of our people. “In consultation with you, we hope to do the best we can and hope that this agenda, which centers around radical thinking of the pro-poor agenda for prosperity and development, could be enhanced with the collective support of everybody,” he said.
Howbeit, figures from the fiscal year 2023 National Budget have shown a reduction in the total government revenue, which was around 785,587 million USD in the 2022 draft national budget, as the 2022 draft national budget shows it at 777,94 million USD.