Home Economy National Revenue Drops By US$157M… As Executive Submits 2024 Draft Budget

National Revenue Drops By US$157M… As Executive Submits 2024 Draft Budget

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: Liberia’s National Revenue Portfolio has dropped massively from US$782.94 million in 2023, as compare to the 2024 Draft National Budget submitted to the Legislature by the Executive Branch for thorough scrutiny and subsequent approval.

On Tuesday, December 19, 2023, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning submitted the 2024 Draft National Budget of US$625.57 Million to the National Legislature for its passage.

A total of US$625.57 million for fiscal year 2024 was submitted to the Legislature by the Executive Branch, headed by President George Manneh Weah.

Deputy Finance Minister for Budget and Planning, Tanneh Geraldine Brunson, during the submission process Tuesday, explained that of this amount, US$623.14 million, 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 disclosed 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, she told the Legislature.

Accordingly, new budget for 2024 has fallen short of US$157.37 million in revenue generation.

But this year, Liberian Government approved National Budget US$782.94 million, which marked the Second Beginning of a New Fiscal Period (January 1–December 31).

At the time, the government anticipated overall revenue of US$782.94 million, with US$672.94 million coming from domestic sources and US$110 million coming from external resources.

2023 tax revenue, at US$553.61 million (82.26%), accounted for the majority of domestic revenue, mostly from income and profit taxes, foreign trade, and goods and services.

Non-tax revenue was estimated to be US$119.33 million (17.73%), primarily from property income taxes.

But in the 2024 budget, a total 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 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.

The Deputy Finance Minister then extended apologies to the Legislature for the delay in submission of the 2024 draft national budget, attributing to national preoccupation and distractions associated with the very competitive 2023 Presidential and Legislative 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 Deputy Minister added.

Receiving the budget, House 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 ensure diligence,” he said.

Speaker Chambers, however, pointed out that the Legislature would ensure the passage of the 2024 draft budget in the interest of Liberia and its people.

The Speaker said the body will pay keen attention to the previous ruling of the Supreme Court of Liberia, cautioning the government to not only settle the arrears of former Legislators but also make payment to victims of the shipwreck. He said, such initiatives will be among the major priorities under the review process, in up keeping with coordination amongst the three separate and distinct branches of government which include the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, according to the House of Representatives official social media page.

The national budget outlines how much money the government plans to generate and spend in a fiscal year.

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