Senate Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah
Senate Concurs With House, Passes 2016/17 National Budget
By Wilfred Gortor
MONROVIA, September 22 (LINA) - The Liberian Senate has concurred with the House of Representatives in the passage of the 2016/2017 fiscal budget.
The budget, which is in the tone US$600,203,674, was passed by the House on Tuesday, September 20, by a unanimous vote of the body.
The Liberia News Agency could not verify whether the Senate's vote on the passage of the budget was unanimous as the vote was taken in an Executive session.
But Senate Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah addressing journalists on Thursday at the Capitol following the passage of the budget said the Senate arrived at the decision to endorse the budget after “tedious deliberation” by the body.
"We are confident that the passage of the budget will enable the government to carry out the development projects of our people," Jallah said.
On behalf of the Liberian Senate, Jallah extended thanks to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate for their joint effort in ensuring that the budget was prepared and approved.
He also praised the Executive Branch of Government for what he termed as "the laudable efforts made to keep Liberia on a progressive developmental path."
It can be recalled that a draft budget in the tone of US$555,992,598 was submitted by the Executive on May 16 through the Ministry of Finance to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, but its passage was delayed as a result of a leadership crisis at the House.
But an ad-hoc technical budget committee established by the House disclosed on Tuesday that following rigorous scrutiny of the budget along with the Ministry of Finance, among other technical entities, over US$46 million was identified as additional and unencumbered revenue.
The committee said the amount was undercut by the removal of US$1.9 million from the draft budget on account of uncertainty surrounding adjusted tax revenue.
It said that these adjustments therefore ensured a net effect in terms of additional and unencumbered revenue of over US$44 million in both core and contingent revenue, thus bringing the total adjusted revenue for 2016/2017 to US$600,203,674 million or its equivalent in Liberian dollars.