Liberia: Two Ratified Versions of National Budget Surface up Capitol Hill
... The committee is tasked to consolidate the House and Senate own versions, amid possible differences in adjustments.
The House of Representatives and the Senate have ratified two different versions of the 2023 national budget and are now finding means to have the variances reconciled in order to officially present a single version to the Liberian people.
The House ratified the budget at US$794.5 million while the Senate at US$782. 9 million. This situation now leads to a bicameral conference committee.
The conference committee is made up of the House and Senate committees on Ways, Means, Finance, and Budget. The lawmakers are however expected to convene the conference Committee to tackle the difference in the national budget.
The committee is tasked to consolidate the House and Senate own versions, amid possible differences in adjustments. This is however the third time that the House and the Senate have passed two versions of the budget, and this resulted in a bicameral conference committee.
It first occurred when current Senator Emmanuel Nuquay, as a representative, was elected as chairman of the House’s ways, means, and budget committee. This also occurred when another senator, Prince Moye, also a former Deputy Speaker, was elected chairman of the House’s ways, means, and budget committee.
Meanwhile. the House version of the budget saw an increment of 16.5 million from its previous amount submitted amount of US$777. 9 million. The Senate while concurring slashed the House's version from US$794.5m to US$782.9m. The difference is US$9 million.
Thirty-seven lawmakers from the House voted for the passage of the 2023 Budget, but Reps. Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis and Yekeh Kolubah abstained.
Meanwhile, 16 Senators voted for the passage of the budget, with three votes again. The senators that voters again the budget passages are Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Darius Dillion, and Jonathan ‘Boy Charles’ Sogbie.
The budget, which President George Weah originally submitted in December 2022, was down by nearly US$29 million when compared with the US$806.5 million approved budget for the fiscal year 2022.
Weah had proposed US$777.9 million for the 2023 budget, which features massive recurrent expenditures, and fails to reach the US$1 billion mark that has been envisioned by the government.
The total resource envelope of Weah’s proposed budget consists of US$667.9 as domestic revenue (85.9% of the budget amount), while external resources on-budget account for US$110 or 14.1% of the proposed budget.
But the Weah budgetary figures have been changed as a result of the House and Senate adjustments.