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New Finance Minister Presents First Proposed Budget

Minister Kamara at the National LegislatureFinance and Development Planning Minister Boima S. Kamara on Monday May 16, 2016 submitted Liberia’s Proposed Budget for the fiscal year 2016/2017 to legislators for approval in consistent with law.

“My team and I have come today to present you this Proposed Budget which we believe outlines and captures our country’s priorities in the best possible way given the constraints,” facing the country, Minster Kamara declared.

The total projected revenue envelop is US$555.9 million comprising of US$495.5 million for Core Domestic Revenue; US$30.2 million as Grant: and US$30.1 million as Contingent Domestic Revenue.

According to Minister Kamara, “The contingency is due to the fact that the National Legislature must approve of some measures before these sources can be realized,” he said.

“We have endeavoured to keep social spending on health at US$77 million; education at US$83 million; and social development spending at 10.5 million,” Minister Kamara told lawmakers.

“Additionally, we have allocated US$20 million toward elections; US$10 million for UNMIL drawdown; US$5 million for Agriculture; US$15 million on road construction; US$3 million for Road Maintenance Fund; and US$1.5 million toward the airport runway rehabilitation,” he disclosed.

The MFDP’s boss notes “By no measures are these amounts enough to handle the issues mentioned but at this point this is what we can afford. What we have done in this budget is to prepare an Unfunded Contingent Envelop of US$140 million which considers a number of key investments that will help to diversify and grow the economy,” he maintained.

He said with the approval of the legislature, government “intends to seek donor funding either in grant or loan to help underwrite these expenditure,”

It can be recalled that President Sirleaf in a communication to the legislature requested two weeks extension, to complete the proposed budget which Minister Kamara acknowledged has been challenging due to the economic situations facing the country.

He told lawmakers that the slowness of the country’s economic recovery is due to the shocks of Ebola coupled with the global decline in commodity prices of Liberia’s two primary export commodities (Iron Ore and Rubber).

“It placed severe strain on our resource envelop. Compounding this further, is the reality that our expenditure demand has come under pressure from the need to prepare for 2017 elections as well as support our security forces to take over from UNMIL which has already begun to draw down,” he emphasized.

With emphases, he maintains, “These are imperatives which cannot be compromised as governance and security will provide the space we need in order conduct other businesses,”

Minister Kamara then indicated, “Under these conditions, it was extremely difficult to balance the budget and that was why an extension was necessary.”

 

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