Amid Financial Hitches: Weah Makes Sharp Cut In Budget

Amid Financial Hitches: Weah Makes Sharp Cut In Budget Featured

Admitting to serious financial difficult in raising needed revenue and amassing huge donor funding as a result of global financial crisis, President George Manneh Weah has made a sharp cut in the pending 2019/2020 fiscal budget.
President Weah, in a letter addressed to the House of Representatives, begged the indulgence of that august body to also afford him at least one and a half month in submitting the draft budget.

The Liberian leader, in his letter dated April 26, 2019 and read in plenary, he noted that the initial draft budget prepared in October of last year for 2019/2019 fiscal year was revised downward due to the inflation of goods and commodities on the Liberian market as a result of the depreciation of the local currency against the United States Dollars and other international currencies.

Plenary is the highest decision making body of the House of Representatives. He indicated that the revised preliminary estimate for the FY2019/20 National Budget is a total resource envelope of US$497Million.

“Given these developments, we have embarked on the process deriving a reasonable and attainable FY2019/20 revenue estimates based on the current underlying macroeconomic fundamentals. This process requires time and resulting challenges in reaching a credible fiscal position has impacted our ability to have the draft budget submitted on time as per law,” said the Liberian leader in his communication to the House of Representatives.

“Our revised preliminary estimate for the FY2019/20 National Budget is a total resource envelope of US$497 million. In line with prudent forecasting, the FY2019/20 revenue forecast driving the budget preparation process is based off the forecasted outturn of US$476 million, actual performance for FY2018/19 rather than the approved budget of US$570 million,” he stated.

“In consideration of the current economic and policy environment, we are forecasting for our tax base to the experience a slight increase so that our core domestic revenue forecast for FY2019/20 is US$458 million, compared to the US$446 million as revised for FY2018/19,” the President furthered.

He pointed out that external resources, through grants and borrowing for budget support, are projected at US$39.2M. The Liberian chief executive then requested the House of Representatives, otherwise known as the Lower House of the National Legislature to grant the Executive Branch of government up to June 15, 2019 for the submission of the draft budget, which should had been submitted since April 30 in line with the Budget Law of the country.

“I realize that this will reduce the time available to the Legislature to approve the National Budget before the start of the new fiscal year. We cannot undermine this important and legally mandated oversight role. I have, therefore, instructed the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to brief the National Legislature on the draft under development and to consult with the Legislature on an ongoing basis during this preparation phase on the expenditure options being considered in order to include your inputs in this draft phase of the budget, which may still enable the timely passage of the FY2019/20 budget. In recognition of this, I am attaching to this letter a summary of the projected revenue and expenditure options for FY2019/20,” he added.

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