The Liberian Senate, through a head-count, voted on August 13, 2020, to approve President George Manneh Weah’s request for the passage of a resolution authorizing the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to use one-twelfth of last year’s budget.
The President’s communication dated August 7, 2020, and read before Senate plenary, noted that the request is in line with the proposed budget (2020/2021) under discussion at the Legislature.
Justifying reason for his request, President Weah noted that it follows Section 17 of the PFM (Public Finance Management) Law regarding temporary financing of the budget, which states: “Where the Legislature is unable to adopt the National Budget before the start of the fiscal year, the Minister (of Finance) is authorized to collect revenues and approve the expenditure in line with the proposed budget, up to one-twelfth (1/12 of the Budget of the previous year.”
The request, President Weah intimated, ”Is urgent because the limit imposed by Section 17 of the PFM Law is almost exhausted, with the government being left only with a balance of US$9,614,470 for its operations out of a total of US$43,166,705.”
It can be recalled that in early July, while the Legislature was awaiting the submission of the 2020/2021 National Budget, President Weah sent a similar request for the use of one twelfth (1/12) of the recast 2019/2020 budget which, he then noted, “Will enable us to meet critical obligations prior to the approval of the budget.”
Prior to voting on the resolution, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon proffered a motion requesting a report on the expenditure of the first requested 1/12 of the recast budget, which was defeated by an argument by Grand Cape Mount County Senator, H. Varney G. Sherman, who clarified that the President’s request was in line with the financial law.
Meanwhile, the joint committee of the House of Representatives and Senate on Ways, Means, Finance, and Budget, is currently conducting closed-door hearings on the draft 2020/2021 National Budget in the Capitol Building.