-To Scrutinize 2018/19 Budget
The House of Representative has received the 2018/19 Fiscal Budget and forwarded it to its committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning, and Public Account and Expenditure for a one-month scrutiny following which the committees will make a report to the body.
The 2018/19 annual budget as submitted by President George Manneh Weah, is in the tone of $US562.2 million, representing a 0.002 percent reduction from the US563.5 million approved in fiscal 2017/18, but a five percent increase compared to the fiscal year 2017/18 recast budget.
As received by the assigned committees on Tuesday, Domestic Revenue, as contained in the projected resource envelope, accounts for US$$498.2 million or 89 percent, while grants constitute US$63.9 million or 11 percent.
Domestic revenue is subdivided into component parts of tax revenue which accounts for US$402.8 million or 81 percent, and non-tax revenue which represents US$95.4 million or 19 percent.
As it relates to expenditure priorities, the expenditure portfolio is estimated at US$562.4 million, consistent with revenue projected and in compliance with the principle of balanced budget.
Expenditure is subdivided into US$488.7 million or 87 percent, for recurrent expenditure and US$73, 4 million or 13 percent for Public Sector Investment Plan (PSIP).
In his submission, the Liberian leader informed the House that the 2018/19 budget seeks to prioritize interventions in Education, Health, Infrastructure, Municipal and Social Development Services Sector.
These are key interventions which, he said, are characterized as “SMART” interventions towards stimulating economic growth as well as catering to the needs of the poor are the main focus of public investment.
President Weah also informed the body, that Liberia’s microeconomic environment remains relatively challenging but partly resilient, alluding to 2009 and 2013 when the country recorded robust microeconomic performance with growth averaging 7.1 percent.
He added: “The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic placed a strain on economic activity in the middle of 2014.”
As the result of this, the Liberian leader continues, Liberia’s real GDP growth projections have since been revised downward.
Weah indicated that recovery from the effects of the EVD epidemic has been relatively slow given the persistence of external shock.
Over the medium term, according to President Weah, the nation’s economic growth is projected to rise at six percent, significantly higher than previous years since the EVD outbreak, but slower than the pre-Ebola level of the nearly eight percent growth rate.
“The medium-term growth prospect will be driven mainly by the expansion in mining, manufacturing and agriculture sectors,” Weah stated.