The Executive Branch of government, after a careful review and analysis of the impact of the global economic downturn on the Liberian economy decided to revise revenue forecast for 2015/2016 downward. The decision, according to sources close to the executive branch, is a result of challenging global environment due largely to plummeted price of major export commodities, iron ore, rubber and others. The legacy of the recent Ebola outbreak is also worsening the situation.
Leaving this unattended to would endanger the general wellbeing of the country. Therefore, the economic management team, in putting in place austerity measures to mitigate the scourge wrote the Liberian Senate requesting that august body’s endorsement to cut recurrent appropriation for FY2015/2016 from US$15,306,416 to US414,043,570.
In a communication to the Liberian Senate, Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs at the Ministry of Finance, Dr. James F. Kollie, urged the House of Senate to review priorities and employ innovative means to efficiently allocate the recommended appropriation among those priorities that will assist government in reducing poverty.
But the Senate has not the taken the MFDP communication lightly, immediately citing Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara Konneh and his deputies to appear for the Plenary Tuesday, February 2, 2016 to explain why they should not be held in contempt.
In his deliberation Thursday, January 28, Senate Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah said recasting of the budget is the exclusive responsibility of the Legislature and not the Finance and Development Planning Ministry.
Inside sources at the National Legislature told The Capitol Times that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, at the end of her State of the Nation Address, Monday, January 25, 2016 held meeting with the leadership of the Legislature to inform them about this decision.
Our source indicated that the Houses’ leadership agreed to work with the executive in ensuring that the economy remains stable in spite of the prevailing crisis. “They agreed to the austerity measure including cut in their budget,” our source said.
It remains to be seen what impact the impasse between the Legislature and the Executive branches of government will have on stabilizing the shrinking economy, since in fact one branch of government is not keen on sacrificing in these austere times in attempts o salvage the national economy.