The House of Representatives has for the second time approved the Supplemental Budget in the tone of US$24.3 million following a report from the Conference Committees. In the first passage, the House approved it at US$10.5 million.
On Thursday, February 25, the 13th Day Sitting of the 4th Session, twenty-five members voted, with their right hands raised, to approve the budget with a lone abstention.
The House’s decision was owing to a report from the Joint Conference Committee set up by both Houses to resolve the outstanding issues on the supplemental budget. But the Senate is yet to concur.
According to the reports, the Conference Committees from the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed on five counts as follow:
“That the passage of the supplemental budget in the tone of US$10.5 million from the Executive Branch was approved by the House of Representatives; that the total revenue envelop of US$9 million was identified from revenue-generating entities as “Domestic Revenue: US$1.5m was identified as External Revenue Grant from the United Kingdom and that the US$10.5 million submitted to the Senate by the House of Representatives, US$3.9 million is proposed as appropriation for the Public Sector Investment Programs with emphasis on roads infrastructure, health, education and aviation-related projects, while US$0.600 million and US$1.129 million for subsidies and debts.”
The report said: “That additional proposal was submitted by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in the amount of US$13.8 million be appropriated for the settlement and offset portion of Government of Liberia Debt to LBDI. This amount resulted from Revenue in Transit reconciled by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and LBDI, and that the total budget of US$24.3 million be passed by the Legislature as the supplemental budget.”
Further, the Conference Committees proposed passage: “An Act to approve the Supplemental Budget for the Fiscal Period Beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021 providing for the expenditure of the Government of the Republic of Liberia in the tone of US$24.3 million be approved; that upon the passage, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MPDP) provides a schedule of the PSIP to the relevant committees for monitoring and accountability and that upon passage, MPDP provides the total liabilities owed LBDI after the payment of US$13.8 million to serve as a guide to payments.
Nimba County District #5 Representive, Samuel Kogar, was the only Lawmaker who abstained during the vote.
Meanwhile, it can be recalled that prior to setting up the conference committees to resolve differences in the supplemental budget, the President wrote the House of Representatives that his government has “Realized a windfall amid mounting expenditure demands for service deliverables beyond allocations in the approved budget of the Fiscal Year 2020/2021.”
The President outlined his expenditures as follows: RIA route pavement US$900,000; Public school chair project US$700,000; Transformer project US$600,000; Hospital beds US$500,000; Legislative goods and services US$1.4 million; domestic travels US$400,000; vehicle repairs and maintenance US$300,000; and constituency travels US$900,000.
Others are vehicle fuel and lubricants US$400,000; generator fuel US$600,000; printing, binding and publication US$250,000; Telecommunication, internet and ICT supplies, US$250,000; RIA residential lounge US$250,000; public schools renovation $250,000; GOL obligation to the African Union US$1,129,695; Foreign Missions Operations US$370,305 and subsidy compensation related US$600,000.
The additional the US$13.8 million was provided by the MFPD to off-set the debt to LBDI.