Making an opening statement yesterday at the Capitol Building during the hearing the chairman on the Joint Committee, Honorable Prince Moyee of Bong County, stressed that the revenue component of the budget be discussed within a week.
According to him there are key institutions that need to be funded through the budget, and as such it is necessary for the committee to work and execute their mandate within the timeframe.
“The expenditure of the budget will begin next Wednesday and we are going to take on all of the agencies that had been invited. We will schedule ourselves to discuss the revenue component within a week,” he said.
The Bong County lawmaker pointed out that the current budget is limited; therefore the vetting process has to be conducted in a way that Liberians will appreciate the outcomes of the hearing conducted by the joint committee.
Giving notes on the revenue envelope delivered to the joint committee, Deputy Minister of Finance for Fiscal Affairs, Adolphus Forkpa, said the total projected revenue from domestic resource mobilization is USD 476,608,000, of which core revenue is USD473, 620,312.06 and contingent revenue is USD2, 987,687.94.
He said external resources account for US$49,940,000 or 9% of the budget. From the economic sectors perspective, Minister Forkpa said the largest portion of domestic revenue comes from the general business sector accounting for US$152.8m representing 29% of domestic resources.
According to the deputy minister taxes are driven by trade taxes, $184m or 35%; income and profit taxes, $145.3m or 28%; goods and services, 54.3m or 10%; while non-tax revenue are driven by property income from royalties and rents from mining, agriculture and cellular mobile network.
“The contingent revenue is on international trade and forestry due to susceptibilities in forestry revenue mobilization and elections uncertainties on businesses,” he noted.
Recently, after a two weeks delay of the submission of the2017/18 fiscal year budget the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, under the leadership of Boima S. Kamara the institution finally submitted the budget with 12.3% reduction from the US$ 600.2 million approved for 2016/17 national budget.
Submitting the budget to the 53rd national legislature on behalf of the ministry, Deputy Minister for Budget and Development Planning Tanneh Brunson said the formulation of the draft budget was constrained by the increased expenditure demands placed on it.
Minister Brunson explained that despite the challenges, the FY2017/18 national budget was prepared in a framework which addresses critical public expenditure demands as the country faces two major transitions.
She named the two major transitions as the 2017 presidential and legislative elections and the UNMIL drawdown, and added that the government remains committed to the delivery of critical public service and the completion of ongoing projects in line with the national development plan.
“The formulation of this draft National budget has been exceptionally constrained, not only by the impacts of slow post-EVD economic recovery and unfavorable external and domestic macroeconomic conditions, but also the increasing expenditure demands place on it,” she said.
Despite these challenges and constrained, Brunson said the FY 2017/18 national budget has been prepared in a framework which addresses critical public expenditure demands as the country faces two major transitions.
“Mr. Speaker, our economy, like most in the world, is experiencing some turbulence due in large part to the global economic downturn, but we are confident that our economy will withstand the tests of the moment,” she added.
She continued that in order to submit a balanced budget; the expenditure portfolio is constrained to US$526.5 million, consisting two major segments: recurrent expenditure of USD 498.9 million or 94.8 percent; and the public sector investment plan (PSIP) of USD27.5 million or 5.2 percent .