By Leroy M. Sonpon III
The Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has said she is disappointed over the failure of three institutions of state’s revenue collection for falling short of their forecast revenue to support the 2016/2017Budget in the amount of US$24.4m.
She named those government entities as the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), National Port Authority (NPA) and the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA).
CG Elfrieda Tamba said the forecast revenue for LPRC Storage Fee is US$43m, but the LPRC has paid only US$24m up to May 30, which constitutes 56%. US$19m is yet to be paid with 25 days to the end of the 2016/2017 Budget, she noted.
CG Tamba told the lawmakers that the management of LPRC collects the proceeds (revenue) from the country’s storage facilities and remits them into government’s account.
She also said the forecast revenue of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) is US$11.5m but up to May 30 only US$7.1m was paid, which constitutes 62%. Out of US$2.5m forecast revenue for the National Port Authority (NPA), US$1.5m was paid, and US$1m is outstanding, Tamba reported.
The LRA boss made the disclosures yesterday during the formal opening of the Revenue Component of the 2017/2018 Draft Budget in the House’s first-floor conference room. The Draft Budget is in the amount of US$526m.
She, however, vowed to work with the technical team of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and other revenue teams from other ministries.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget, Rep. Prince Moye, said his committee will work harder despite the brevity of time for the 2017/2018 Draft Budget to be approved before July 1, 2017.
Rep. Moye, who is also the House Chairman on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget, warned ministries and agencies to be punctual at every hearing.
He said the Joint Committee had planned the Revenue Component for a week, which runs from Monday-Friday, June 5-9; and then the Expenditure Component will be another week, beginning Monday, June 12.
The chairman further stated that the Joint Committee will take the third week to do an in-house working, and subsequently the passage of the 2017/2018 Draft Budget.
“Even though the time is short, we will work harder and carefully to pass the budget,” Rep. Moye said.
The Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget is comprised of members from the Ways, Means, Finance & Budget and Public Account & Expenditure Committees from both Houses.
There are 15 members each from both Houses of the Ways, Means, Finance & Budget Committee; and seven and five members respectively from the House of Representatives and Liberian Senate.
According to the Budget Law, the Liberian annual budget runs from July 1 to June 30.
The acting co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget, Senator Henry Yallah, said the Committee will not tolerate rescheduling of ministries and agencies.
For his part the Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Adolphus Forkpa, said the total draft resource envelope is US$526.5m; the core revenue is US$523.5m and the contingent revenue is US$2.9m.
Mr. Forkpa said the total revenue in Liberian dollars amounts to L$57.3m, at the projected annual average exchange rate of US$1=L$109.
Yesterday, according to the schedule of the Revenue Component, the following ministries and agencies appeared: Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA); Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP); the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the Liberia Petroleum Refining Corporation (LPRC); the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA); and the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA).
In today’s schedule, the entities to appear are the National Port Authority (NPA), Forestry Development Authority(FDA), Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy (MLM&E), Roberts International Airport (RIA) and Ministry of Transport (MOT).