President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Government Downsizes Nat’l Budget
By Ballah M. Kollie, LINA
MONROVIA, January 25 (LINA) –President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has indicated that government will not be able to meet the targeted level of public sector investment due to financial constraints.
She said the targeted level is required for government to meet its obligations to ongoing infrastructure projects and new priorities that are essential for Liberia’s economic diversification goals.
The Liberian leader in her state of the nation address in the joint chambers of the legislature attributed the situation to drops in revenue generation.
She said the legislature approved the 2015/16 budget in the amount to US$622.7 million, which has been revised downward to US$552.8 million due to declining revenue intake.
According to her, collection in government revenue budgeted at US$473.8 million is estimated to fall by 12 percent or US$57million due to the slow activities in the mining sector.
“Reflecting the weak revenue performance, total expenditure budget of US$622.7 million is expected to be reduced by 11.2 percent to US$552.8 million, representing potential cut backs for all entities by avoiding compensations and other economic and social service expenditures,” she stressed.
She said despite Liberia been placed among the fast growing economies in Africa in the recent past, the growth trend was short-lived firstly by the 2008 global financial crisis resulting in the real domestic product decline to 5.1 percent in 2009.
President Sirleaf, however, noted acceleration to 8.7percent in 2013 but then was hit again by the second shock which came from the Ebola virus Disease in 2014.
She cited the third shock as the drop in the global price of the country’s two major exports - rubber and iron ore - the result of which affected the GDP from the original forecast of 5.9 percent to 0.7percent in 2014.
The President urged Liberians to work together to overcome the economic challenges that the country is facing.
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has said the drawdown of the U. N Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has also affected the service sector, and further reduced real GDP growth to 0.3 percent in 2015, compared to the original forecast of 6.8percent.