Finance, Development and Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., on behalf of the President George M. Weah, has finally submitted the 2020/2021 National Budget to the 54th Legislature in the tune toUSD$535,446,000 (Five Hundred Thirty-Five Million Four Hundred Forty-Six Thousand United States Dollars).
The annual fiscal instrument was presented to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr. Bhofal Chambers on Wednesday, July 15, in his office at the Capitol.
The submission of the proposed of US$534.4 million national budget for Fiscal Year 2020/21 came 76 days (two months and 15 days) late, according to the UP Legislative Caucus Chairman, Rep. Hanson Kiazolu of Montserrado County District #17.
Kiazolu, a former Comptroller General of the Republic of Liberia, said the budget should have been submitted since April 30.
This, he said, would not give the Legislature, especially the Joint Committee on Budget of the Senate and House of Representatives, enough time to deliberate on the funding proposal.
The budget is normally submitted to Legislature according to the Public Finance Monetary (PFM) law two months to the elapse of the previous budget to allow the Legislature debate and act upon before the new budget law begins on July 1 of each year.
The Legislature needs at least two months “or more to finish the budget”, he said. But, at 76 days late, it means the Executive expects the Legislature to ratify the budget in August, before the Flag Day celebration.
According to the UP caucus chairman, the delay in the budget is stifling the economy — causing hardship in the country. “Economically, that’s the effect of a delayed budget,” he said.