Nimba County authorities, including the county’s 11 lawmakers through the County Council Sitting on Sunday, September 2, budgeted US$3,680,092 for 2018/2019, with 24 percent of the money targeting road works in the county.
The 113 delegates, including paramount chiefs, administrative district representatives, city councils, students, the disabled community, constituency representatives and traditional chiefs took the decision through voting, with 108 persons voting in favor of the budget, seven against, and one absent from the voting process.
This year’s County Council Sitting agenda was one of the heavily debated issues, where the citizens turned out en-masse to witness the occasion and lobbied with some of the delegates to include them or their projects in the budget.
Confusion ensued during the Project Management Committee’s presentation covering the period from 2016 to June, 2018. Some delegates suspected complications in the report, claiming it was bulky, a situation that was, however, not immediately resolved.
At last, the caucus, through the chairman, Senator Prince Y. Johnson, constituted a committee to work along with the county authorities and peruse the documents in order to distribute them among the district commissioners and other stakeholders.
Co-Chair Representative Johnson Gwiakolo of District # 9 apologized to the citizens, informing them that the past document/report cannot stop the future plan. He added, “We should go ahead with the meeting, while we wait for a committee to peruse the documents and make their report subsequently.”
In the new budget, US$804,165 will go to feeder roads rehabilitation and repair of the grounded machines, US$236,000 for affected communities; US$450,000 for electoral districts developments, US$569,505 go into debt owed institutions and other incomplete projects or liabilities.
Other allotments include PMC operation of US$210,000; scholarship, US$90,000, Nimba Community Radio, US$30,000; Nimba County Community College, US$50,000; Disabled Community, US$45,000, ABC, US$25,000; LICC, US$30,000, Nimba County Health Team, US$30,000; Traditional Chiefs, US$40,000; County Meeting, US$75,000 and Cities, US$30,000.
The amount of US$ 90,000 was allotted for statutory superintendents, district commissioners, township commissioners, paramount chiefs, city mayors, and the renovation of the Superintendent’s Compound.
The county is expected to generate income, including US$275, 825 from the Government County Development Funds, US$980, 000 from ArcelorMittal Social Development fund, US$186, 190.14 cents from North Star scrap proceeds and US$1,045,665.78 cents expected scraps proceeds from both North Star and Sethi Ferro Fabric Incorporated; but US$510,000 will come from the proceeds of Sethi Ferro Fabric Inc. It should have been US$600,000, but 15 percent was taken off by the government.
This County Sitting brought together all the 11 lawmakers, along with chiefs and elders in the county.
Each of the speakers, headed by Senator Prince Johnson, called for one Nimba, speaking against disunity and tribalism, even though there were some dissatisfaction raised among those whose entities, such as the Community Watch Forum, were not captured in the budget.
David Mahn, head of the Community Watch Forum, expressed frustration, but begged for consideration to allocate money in the county’s budget for those regularly assigned with the forum. The forum is an auxiliary security of ordinary residents who devote their time, serving as proxies in places where state security, specifically police officers, are not assigned.
During the last County Council Sitting in the year 2016, US$10,000 was allotted for the Community Watch Forum.
Other institutions, including the Ganta Christian Community, the Ministry of Education-Nimba, Jackson F. Doe Hospital and women’s organizations were not also captured in the budget.
Nothing was also allotted for agriculture or any agricultural-related programs.