Concurs with House of Representatives
The Liberian Senate, spurning public debate on the recast budget, has concurred with the House of Representatives for passage into law the proposed recast COVID-19 Budget for the fiscal period 2019/2020 in the tone of US$518,000,000 (Five Hundred Eighteen Million United States Dollars).
The House of Representatives, which also spurned public debate, passed the recast budget Monday evening and forwarded it to the Senate for concurrence.
The Senate’s decision was based on a resolution signed by two-thirds of the total membership. During the passage of the budget through a resolution, a heated argument ensued between Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon and some of his colleagues to a point where he was almost thrown out of session.
Senator Dillon argued that passing the budget through a resolution was not healthy because the budget should be debated to know the sources of funds and other sticky issues including the food program included for COVID-19.
The Senate Resolution #001/2020 was read during the Senate sitting on Friday May 22, 2020, by the Secretary of the Senate J. Nanborlor F. Singbeh and subsequently obtained an overwhelming votes by Senators in Chamber.
President George M. Weah on May 15, 2020 submitted the FY-2019/2020 covid-19 Recast budget to the Legislature for consideration.
The Senate’s resolution further indicated that the global Covid-19 pandemic has created extra budgetary conditions in the economy of Liberia which necessitated a recast of FY-2019/2020 National Budget with fiscal measures.
“Now therefore, it is resolved by the Senate of the Republic of Liberia in Legislature assembled:
- That the amount of Five Hundred Eighteen Million United States Dollars (US$518, 000, 000) is hereby approved as the COVID-19 Recast National Budget for FY-219/2020.
- That in order to protect the revenue of Liberia, there shall be the imposition of excise tax of Thirty United States Cents per gallon of petroleum products sold on the Liberian market and which shall become effective immediately.
- That for the centralization of the collection of all Government revenues, there shall be a revision of existing laws relating to the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) and the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), to ensure that One Hundred Percent (100%) of all revenues accruing in these entities from all sources are collected by, and flowed directly to the consolidated Account at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).
- That consistent with improving transparency and effectiveness in the Public Financial Management system, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning shall improve the timelines and comprehensiveness of financial reporting and fiscal transparency by:
a. Having all advanced-reporting agencies revert to using the government’s integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) for all purchases with a cessation of the piloted Cash Advance Program; and
b. The weekly publishing of reconciled and comprehensive fiscal data to be shared with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) effective immediately.
5. That there shall be a consideration of Five Hundred Twenty Million United State Dollars (US$520,000,000), as the ceiling for FY-2020/2021 National Budget.
6. That this resolution shall take effect immediately”.