-Over Draft Budget
By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
It seems that the proposed draft national budget for fiscal year 2018/2019 currently before the legislature for scrutiny and subsequent passage into law is far from been passed.
Speaker Chambers National Legislature Pro-Temp Chie
The draft budget which was recently submitted to the legislature in keeping with the Constitution of Liberia is the first draft budget of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in the tone of US$562.2 million.
According to close sources within the legislature who hinted this paper but begged not to be named said lawmakers are ‘divided’ over the budget passage as it does not meet present day reality.
Our sources told this paper that lawmakers of the opposition Unity Party (UP) and some other independent lawmakers are presently campaigning against the passage of this year’s budget due to what they termed as the ‘unrealistic nature’ of the budget.
Lawmakers, particularly members of the House of Representatives were locked up behind closed door in their chambers for several hours in an effort to find a common ground so as to enable the passage of the budget within time, something our sources said did not materialize as the opposition lawmakers remained unbending.
Following their plenary session, the opposition lawmakers and other independent lawmakers who believe the budget should not be passed were all seen rushing into the office of the Deputy House Speaker, Representative Prince Moye for a meeting.
“They opposition lawmakers and other independent lawmakers who believe that this budget does not meet the Pro-Poor agenda as claimed by this government are saying they do not want to pass a budget wherein at the end of the day they will be lashed at by the public when it starts to backfire,” our source stressed.
Finance Minister, Samuel Tweah
Our source also noted that the group pointed out the inability of the entire Finance Ministry team in preparing an unrealistic budget and also the inability of the joint Ways, Means, Finance and Budget chairman, Representative Thomas Fallah of Montserrado County district five to properly scrutinize said instrument
However, our source stated that the group is expected to hold a two day working sessions on the budget beginning today, Friday, May 18, 2018 and Saturday, May 19, 2018 in order to proffer what they believe is a workable solution for the smooth passage of the 2018/2019 draft national budget.
The group has warned that anything short of what they would provide to the CDC led government would meet a very stiff resistance and it would not be passed as they would not vote for said instrument.
Meanwhile, consultations led by the Speaker of the House of Representatives are underway to find an amicable solution intended to speedily pass the draft national budget for fiscal year 2018/2019.