Senate Concurs with House on US$526M National Budget

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— Senator Teahjay suggests disclosure of senators’ salaries

The Senate on Thursday, through a unanimous vote of standing, concurred with the House of Representatives to pass the 2019-2020 National Budget at US$526 million, which is worth the equivalent of L$109,408,000,000 at an average rate of L$208 to US$1.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget, who briefed the plenary as to the formulation and analysis of the budget, said it engaged the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and other major stakeholders to jointly scrutinize the proposed National Budget for fiscal year 2019-2020.

“The joint committee after the analysis of the proposed budget, which the Executive submitted, arrived at the current budget as follows: Expenditure, Legislative Recast; Compensation, US$296,992,913; Use of Goods and Services, US$72,272,618; Subsidies, US$430,500; Grants, US$57,528,644; Social Benefits, US$1,491,628; Non-Financial Assets, US$36,264,534; Debts, US$35,945,775; PSIP, US$25,73,388; total, US$526 million. The committee hereby recommends that the Senate concur with the House of Representatives as to the enactment of the gross budget…”

Meanwhile, Chairman on Ways, Means and Budget, Senator Morris Saytumah, informed his colleagues that based on the country’s discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which felt that the US$314 million was too high in terms of percentage proportionality of the compensation of the overall budget, “…recommended that we stay at US$297 million, which was cast in stone as a result of the deliberations.”

In terms of deduction, Senator Saytumah disclosed that the Senate contributed 26%, and “we did so because we decided that our staff will not be disturbed, so we absorbed whatever sensitization that was to be levied against the staff.”

Before crafting of the current budget, Senator Saytumah said, the Senate’s total take-home pay was US$7,000,000 but has been reduced to about US$6.4 million. “So actually that thing that was in the air about some amount is not realistic, because it never existed on our budget.”

But when it came to the question of what senators’ actual take-home pay was, Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay suggested that the disclosure of their current benefits be done in Executive session (behind closed doors). That suggestion brought a loud protest of “NO” from his colleagues and spectators. Teahjay, just days ago, differed with Senator Darius Dillon over the correct amount of a senator’s take-home salary.

Senator Saytumah, however, disclosed that though it will still be done in executive, “I think it is about US$6,244.00.”

Meanwhile, after three unprecedented resolutions to extend its annual session, the Senate, though not officially announced, is expected to close today, October 4, 2019.

8 COMMENTS

    • That actually depends on the unfit Junior Finance Minister Samuel Tweah. The President was elected as an unqualified person and he then appoints an unqualified person as Finance Minister. Miserable people like the two of them do love each other.

  1. Phil,
    Assuming that the working class people will get paid is an important point to wonder about. What I would like to know also is whether assistance for transportation and rental fees will be included in the take home pay of the working class people.

    Teahjay argued the other day that free gasoline and rental assistance money that’s contained in the lawmakers’ salaries are not to be construed as a salary. That’s bogus!. Sadly, maybe Teahjay doesn’t know that. But what else is unknown about the musings of the lawmaker and his associates?

    In his latest escapade, Teahjay wants a full disclosure of the lawmakers’ salaries discussed behind closed doors. What’s there to hide? Is the gentleman a paper tiger or just a true blue coward?

  2. A wise person once said, “Economy has frequently nothing whatever to do with the amount of money being spent, but with the wisdom used in spending it.”

    Liberia’s 2019/2020 national budget of US$526M is laughable!

    This meager budget is a reflection of weak domestic output and low revenue generated for a country with a population of 4,853,516 people (2018 estimate).

    If this meager budget of US$526M were to be divided by the current population, that means each Liberian, excluding Liberians living in the Diaspora, will receive only US$108.38 for the fiscal year (2019/2020).

    However, this is not practical because most of the country’s meager budget goes into the pockets of upper echelons (Government Officials) in Liberia, while the country’s infrastructures, civil servants, educational system/ teachers, medical facilities/medical workers and farmers remain at the bottom of the totem pole.

    It would be difficult for this once prosperous country, that had one of the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Sub-Saharan Africa in the sixties (US$900) and early seventies (US$1680), to prosper without this government focusing heavily on increasing Liberia’s domestic output (goods and services) at the same reducing Liberia’s over-reliance on foreign goods and services until Liberia’s economy reaches an equilibrium.

    Liberia’s meager 2019/2020 national budget of US$526 million is a drop in the bucket. Liberia’s national budget is less than Floyd Mayweather’s, an American Boxer, net worth of approximately US$560 million.

    This government can do better: if only President Weah puts the right people and right economic principles in place.

    As the wise person said, “Spend wisely”!

    Therefore, spend this meager US$526 Million wisely Mr. President.

  3. The government previous year’s monetary obligations have overlapped; thus infringing on the next fiscal year’s “BUDGET”. By the time government shall have paid all arrears, one third of the next fiscal year’s BUDGET should have been spent. Certainly! There will be BUDGET shortfalls. Coupled with that, Liberia’s high inflations, high unemployment and the continuous depreciation of The Liberian Dollar against The U.S DOLLAR, will definitely have negative impacts on The Economy. Solution: “PRIORITIZE AND CREATE PRODUCTIVE JOBS”. *A Nation’s “Economic Health” is determined in terms of gainful employments”

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