Finance Minister Amara Konneh has blamed government revenue generating entities for the current state of budget recast the country is experiencing.
Appearing before plenary of the House of Representatives Tuesday, 21 January in Monrovia, Minister Konneh blamed revenue generating entities like Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), National Port Authority (NPA) and Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) and others for playing active roles in the ‘poor collection’ of revenue to support the approved National Budget 2013/2014 Fiscal year.
Konneh noted that amongst a series of outstanding revenues, US$3 million from LPRC, US$1 million from NPA and US$3 million that should have been remitted to the National envelop are yet to be realized.
He announced that there remains a “serious task evasion” by many costumers inclusive of private entities ranging from real estate tax and income. Konneh then said, “We are beginning a massive tax collection campaign Wednesday, [January 22,] and I want the Legislature [to] help us achieve this.”
The Finance boss disclosed that out of US$296.5 million estimated to be collected in support of the budget; only 278.8 million has been collected, amounting to a US$17 million shortfall.
“We are expected to collect US$303 million by June 30 of this year,” he pointed out.
In furtherance of that, the awarding-winning Finance Minister revealed that US$68.6 million has been realized as “delay envelop,” maintaining that there was no need to panic as the economy is in good shape.
Minister Konneh also associated the budget- shortfall to government domestic debt owed contractors particularly in the construction sector to the tune of US$33 million; a move he said is responsible for the delay in the completion of several road projects across the country.
He announced that despite challenges faced by his regime in generating the requisite resources needed to support the budget, National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) is up to speed with its commitment to the budget and has provided US$6 million of the US$8 million projected.
The Finance boss’ appearance was predicated on a communication addressed to the plenary by Margibi County Representative Emmanuel Nuquay requesting the presence of Mr. Konneh before plenary to speak to several revenue issues affecting the economy.
Defending his economic policy, Konneh insisted that Liberia’s economy is stable and remains one of the best in the sub-regions with inflation at 8.5%, an assertion many lawmakers dismissed.
Meanwhile, Minister Konneh announced that Liberia has projected US$2 billion in order to stabilize the economy and provide basic social services to the Liberian people. How and when such projections will be achievable was not disclosed.