Finance Submits Over US$600M Draft Budget

The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), has submitted to the House of Representatives, the Country’s Draft National Budget in the tune of US$625.57 million for fiscal year 2024.

Deputy Finance Minister for Budget and Development Planning, Tanneh Geraldine Brunson, during the submission process Tuesday, December 19, 2023 added that of this amount, US$623.14 constituting 99.6 percent is projected as domestic revenue, while the amount of US$ 2.43 million or 0.39 percent is projected to come from external resources.

Deputy Minister Brunson added that the total proposed expenditure for FY 2024 is US$625.57 million, in consonance with the projected resource envelope. The recurrent component of expenditure is US$ 594.54 million, or 95 percent of the total proposed expenditure, while the total cost of Public Sector Investment Projects is projected to be US$31.03 million, or 5 percent of the total proposed expenditure.

According to her, the first claims on available resources are focused on those obligatory expenditure categories that must be satisfied. In this regard, the total amount of US$ 594.54 million earmarked for recurrent expenditure has been allocated and guided by the following order of priority: Debt Service (Domestic & External), Compensation for Employees, Grants, Goods and Services for Education and Health Sectors among others.

The Deputy Finance Minister for Budget and Development Planning earlier stated that the submission process is in pursuant to Section 17.1 of the Public Financial Management Act, covering the period January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2024.

“Honorable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives, while this budget is a reflection of the programs and priorities of the out-going administration, it should not be unexpected that the incoming administration may institute measures to tweak, recalibrate, or even recast the programs and priorities herein to indicate policy change, hopefully in the spirit of continuity in governance”, she said.

She then extended apologies for the delay in submission attributed to the national preoccupation and distraction associated with the very competitive elections.

“In the wake of mounting pressures, especially national debt burden and recurrent expenditures, only critical cross-cutting national programs and projects in three sectors have been proposed under the Public Sector Investment Program (PSIP) segment of the budget. Among these is the National Road Fund under the Infrastructure and Basic Services Sector”, the Minister added.

Receiving the budget, the Honorable Speaker, Dr. Bhofal Chambers, called for an automatic scheduling of the budget process.

“As you know and we accept the apologies, this instrument should have been brought here three months ago so that we would have carefully looked at the process and ensured diligence”, he said.

Speaker Chambers said the legislature would do the utmost to ensure passage in the interest of the Country and its people.

The Speaker said the body will pay keen attention to the Supreme Court’s ruling instructing the government to settle the arrears of former legislators and payment to victims of the shipwreck will be of majority priorities under the review process in up keeping coordination amongst the three branches of government.

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