LIBERIA: Until New Gov’t takes Charge Senate vows not to pass Budget
In the wake of a communication by outgoing President George Manneh Weah to both chambers of the bicameral legislature for an extension in the submission of the FY2024 Draft National Budget by 26 working days as of October 31, 2023, the Liberian Senate has unanimously passed on not to pass any budget until the new government takes charge in next January.
In his communication to both chambers of the Legislature, President Weah indicated that the basis for his request for extension is premised on the just ended Presidential and Legislative Elections which have impacted the preparation of the FY2024 National Budget.
As a result of these activities, the President noted that budget preparation process was continuously interrupted.
He pointed out that these interruptions have caused a delay to the timely submission of the budget as stated in Section 17.1 of the Amended and Restated Public Financial Management Law of 2019, that states that: “The President shall submit the Proposed Budget and accompanying documents to the Legislature no later than two (2) months before the start of the fiscal year”.
“While I am conscious that this extension will reduce the time available to the National Legislature to approve the National Budget before the start of the next fiscal year, we also, do not want to undermine the important role of the IMF in these processes. It is my hope that the additional time requested will also enable us to incorporate possible concerns of the IMF and other stakeholders thereby firming up the resources envelop along with priority expenditures that can be approved in time for the start of the new fiscal year on January 1, 2024,” read the communication.
“Therefore, we urge your consideration for the extension of the Budget submission as stated above,” added the Liberian leader.
Predicated on the delay, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon moved that the communication be sent to the relevant committee, but with the condition that the Senate will not pass the budget until the new government takes charge of the state of affairs in January of next year.
Sen. Dillon’s motion, which received an overwhelming “YEAH” vote across the floor of the Liberian Senate, is premised on the account that the budget is a financial instrument that serves as working tool of a government, and as such, the outgoing government is not best situated to define the programs and actions of the incoming leadership.