The Minister-designate of Finance and Development Planning, Boima Kamara, has informed the Senate Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget that 14 years of experience dealing with both monetary and fiscal issues affecting the country, backed by his academic training in economics, demonstrates his competence to steward the nation’s finances.
“I do not believe that stewarding the nation’s finances is beyond my competence,” Mr. Kamara said.
Appearing before the Committee, chaired by Grand Cape Mount County Senator Edward Boakai Dagoseh in the Senate’s Chambers yesterday, Mr. Kamara promised to build on what he described as strong foundation laid by his predecessors, especially former Minister Amara Konneh, whose launch of the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan (ESRP) has been critical to sustaining the country in the wake of the Ebola epidemic.
“My focus will be on sustaining the momentum generated by the ESRP with an eye to enable the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) meet some of the critical benchmarks before the end of 2017.”
Kamara, who prior to his appointment at the helm of MFDP served as the Central Bank of Liberia’s Deputy Governor for Economic Policy, informed the committee that the Mount Coffee Hydro Electric Plant is expected to be fully rehabilitated by July 2017, with the first turbine coming online in December 2016.
He said that investments in the energy sector will bring significant benefits to the country and the business community.
But achieving all areas of investment over the next 17 months, Mr. Kamara noted, will require extraordinary, robust collaboration from all stakeholders including the National Legislature, development partners and government ministries and agencies.
“When confirmed, I will work hard with your collaboration and support to secure and sustain financing for these critical investments, and public resources will be effectively and efficiently expended in the interest of all our people.”
Speaking on the revenue side, Kamara said under his tenure, the Ministry will work with the Liberian Revenue Authority (LRA) to improve collection through more effective tax administration, closing loopholes and minimizing other influences affecting revenue collection.
“On the expenditure front, in the face of declines in commodity receipts as stated as well as likely slow down in external support, the government will need to take prudent austerity measures to shift resources towards priority sectors such as health, education, security and the upcoming 2017 Elections,” Kamara continued.
“Distinguished Senators, the level of current spending will have to be adjusted to ensure sustainability, being cognizant of the slowdown on the revenue side. This is one of the areas I believe we can work together in solving.”
Concluding, Kamara assured investors that the country’s economy will remain sound, adding, “we will work hard to keep it growing and at the same time assure Liberia’s development partners, especially the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, that ongoing programs will continue unimpeded and achieve key benchmarks and targets over the short time we have.”