Liberia: House Passes US$41.3M Spending Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

Liberia: House Passes US$41.3M Spending Bill to Avert Government Shutdown
Liberia: House Passes US$41.3M Spending Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

Africa-Press – Liberia. The House of Representatives has passed a US$41.3 million spending bill presented by President Joseph N. Boakai to sustain government operations for February 2024. The decision, aimed at avoiding a government shutdown, saw 38 Representatives voting in favor, with two abstentions and two against.

While the adjusted budget allocated funds to goods and services within the three branches of the government, members of the House of Representatives voted to approve the realigned (adjusted) US$41.3 million with the increment of the goods and services of the Judiciary, and Legislature respectively.

According to the House’s version of February’s spending bill (budget), compensation remained at 63% with a budget of US$26 million, while debt servicing accounted for 14% US$5.7 million. Other provisions included allocations for specific areas such as security operations, Armed Forces Day, food and catering, office supplies, fuel, electricity and water, among others.

The House agreed to enhance the Judiciary and Legislature’s goods and services budgets while reducing funding for janitorial and sanitation supplies or services.

The Boakai’s 100-day deliverables are US$1,941,210 (4.7%) and Other Goods and services have been reduced from US$2,014,000 (4.9%) to US$1,514,000 respectively.

Others that remained as submitted by President Boakai are Security Operations (non-wage expenditure) US$1,250,000.00; Armed Forces Day US$100,000; Food and catering (hospitals, prisons, barracks, etc.) US$9995,500; Office Supplies US$679,446; Fuel and lubricants US$547,889; Electricity US$250,000; Water US$100,000; Travels (exceptional circumstances) US$200,000 and Ministry of State US$188,000 and Vice President Office Goods and Services US$28,500.

The allocation of the Janitorial/ sanitation supplies or services was reduced from US$750,00 to US$650,000.

Members of the House of Representatives have agreed to augment the Judiciary Goods and Services from US$96,655 to US$196,000; Senate Goods and Services US$150,000 to US$350,000 and House of Representatives Goods and Services $250,000 to US$700,000.

The budget faced opposition from some members, notably Musa Bility, Chairman of National Security, who expressed concerns about the absence of a performance report on the preceding US$66 million budget.

The Nimba County District #7 Representative argued that according to the Public Finance Management Law before a budget is ratified, the preceding budget performance should be submitted for scrutiny.

Meanwhile, House Speaker J. Fonati Koffa instructed the Chief Clerk to forward the approved US$41.3 million budget to the Senate for final approval. The bill was initially submitted by President Boakai on February 14, 2024, to authorize government operations for February 2024.In his communication, the President wrote: “In view of the above, we are seeking the authorization to spend the amount of US$41,300,000.00 as reflected in the detailed attachment. This amount will cover the Government operations for the month of February 2024.”

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