The Liberian Senate, with a vote of 13 for and none against, has concurred with the House of Representatives in the passage of the supplementary budget in the amount of US$24.3 million.
President George Manneh Weah, in early February, submitted to the Legislature for timely passage of a supplementary budget in the tone of US$10.5 million, adding to the 2020/2021 National Budget.
During the Senate committees’ work, the amount of US$13.8 million was added to the original amount which came from the domestic debt settlement arranged between the government and the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI). According to his February 3, 2021 communication to the Senate, President Weah assured the Legislature that the passage of the supplementary budget would go a long way in helping his government to deliver in areas that are in critical need of attention, such as the purchase of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) transformers, nationwide public schools project, beds for hospitals, the Roberts International Airport road project and street lights project.
After receiving the House of Representatives passed budget for concurrence, the Senate set up a conference committee to work with their counterparts at the House, with a specific mandate to establish a detailed breakdown of how the amount will be used.
The Senators intimated that the method used by the conference committee, when used during national budget hearings, will help cut down “some of these things called Presidential projects.”
Montserrado County Senator, Abraham Darius Dillon, who formed part of the conference committee, had declared earlier that the people need to know that it is their taxes that are being used to develop the country as a government. “This Senate (Legislature) has encouraged bad public relations of itself for too long.”
Meanwhile, due to hours of the closed-door pre-session meeting by Senators in their Chambers, only one agenda item among almost ten was discussed during Tuesday’s session.
The Senate’s failure to purchase an appropriate modern 21st-century communication gadget seems to be going from bad to worse, as the only available microphone used by all Senators (except presiding officer of a sitting day and Senators Dillon and Sherman who have their individual microphones) is showing signs that it needs a place at the National Archives for antiquities.