Ebola has forced Liberia’s revenue decline leaving the government with no alternative but to reduce the number of public entities to at least a minimum “controllable” size.
Presenting a budget of US$604.04 million to the House of Representatives in Monrovia yesterday, Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. James Kollie noted that “because of the Ebola strike on the three West African nations, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, revenue generation to support the national financial envelop “could not be realized.”
As such, the Acting Finance Minister said public financial experts could not capture more resources to the national cake.
Liberia was the hardest hit Ebola nation in the region, killing over 3,000 people and making thousands including women and children isolated, orphaned and stigmatized.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has since declared Liberia “Free of Ebola”.
The Deputy Finance boss for Budget maintained that projecting a budget of some US$56 million less than the previous US$660 million was the best economic strategy for Liberia’s post-Ebola recovery process.
Dr. Kollie told the nation through House Speaker J. Alex Tyler that due to the outbreak, many large companies and concessions axed or wrote off their financial involvement with Liberia leaving the nation struggling to recover from 14 years of conflict with limited revenues to become a more efficient and proactive country.
He asserted that drafting a small and achievable budget is paramount to government’s operations at the moment, and as such, reducing the size of government is “as well vital to economic progress.”
Although he declined to name institutions that are to be deleted from public expenditure, legislative sources believe that the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs tops the list.
According to our sources, Planning has not been properly governed because of the merger process involving Finance and Planning.
Receiving the bill, Speaker Tyler assured Liberians of a “speedy passage,” noting that the legislature will play its part in addressing national concerns.
Meanwhile, the fiscal financial instrument moves to Capitol Hill without the usual Budget Performance Report, an instrument strongly required in order to curtail financial mal-practices in public spending.