Budget Chair Reveals
By Leroy M. Sonpon III
At the end of the formal hearing of the revenue component of the 2017/2018 Draft National Budget on Friday, June 9, the Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget and Public Accounts of the Liberian Legislature said it did not reach the targeted US$526m as submitted by the Executive.
The Committee said to avoid a budget shortfall, the draft budget might be cut, if the revenue collection does not meet the proposed budget.
Rep. Prince Moye, Chairman of the Joint Committee, however said the budget might also be increased if the Committee identifies sources for more than the US$526m during the Expenditure Component of the Draft National Budget, which runs from Monday, June 12 to Friday, June 19, 2017.
The Chairman made the assertions on Friday, June 9, in the House’s first floor chamber during the end of the Revenue Component of the budget.
He told journalists that the Committee has issues with the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) and the National Port Authority (NPA).
Though he didn’t disclose the “issues,” it may be recalled that the Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Elfrieda Tamba, expressed disappointment over the LPRC, the NPA and the Liberia Maritime Authority for falling short of their forecast revenue to support the 2016/2017 Budget in the amount of US$24.4m.
Commissioner General Tamba said the forecast revenue for LPRC Storage Fee is US$43m, but the LPRC had paid only US$24m up to May 30, which constituted 56%. US$19m is yet to be paid, with 25 days to the end of the 2016/2017 Budget.
She told lawmakers that the management of LPRC collects the proceeds (revenue) from the country’s storage facilities and remits them into government’s account.
Tamba also said the forecast revenue of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) is US$11.5m, but up to May 30 only US$7.1m had been paid, which constituted 62%. Out of US$2.5m forecast revenue for the National Port Authority (NPA), US$1.5m was paid, and US$1m is outstanding.
Meanwhile, public hearings for the Expenditure Component of the 2017/2018 Draft National Budget, which starts today in the Joint Chambers at 10:00 a.m., will include the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Education, the Booker Washington Institute (BWI), MCSS (Monrovia Consolidated School System), the University Liberia and Tubman University.
On Tuesday, June 13, the following Ministries and Agencies will appear: Forestry Development Authority, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.