President Sirleaf Signs US$622.7M Budget

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has signed into law the National Budget in the amount of US$622,743,420 (six hundred twenty two million seven hundred forty three thousand four hundred and twenty United States Dollars) for Fiscal Year 2015/2016.

The total resource envelope for FY2015/16 is US$622.7 million and is composed of US$473.7 million in revenue raised from domestic sources (taxes and non-tax revenue);US$66.2 million in grants;US$58.6 million in external borrowing; and US$24.2 million in unspent resources carried forward from FY2014/15.

These resources will be used to continue delivering critical public services, and to fund projects designed to effectively implement the country’s development plan, as set out in the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) and the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan (ESRP).

Expenditure is split between US$515.9 million (82.8 percent) for Recurrent Expenditure, and US$106.8 million (17.2 percent) for Public Sector Investment Projects (PSIP).

Sectors with key roles in post-Ebola socioeconomic recovery received the lion’s share of the total envelope, a whopping 55 percent. These sectors include: Education (US$80 million), Security (nearly US$96 million), Infrastructure (US$85 million), Social Development (US$9.4 million), Health (US$75 million), and Agriculture (US$6.47million, supplemented by US$121.9 million in development partner support).

Although this budget represents a two percent (US$12.5 million) decline in total appropriations, as compared tolast Fiscal Year’s US$635.2 million envelope, the aforementioned sectors received substantial net increases. Education received a 20 percent increase; while Security received 14 percent more,to continue preparations for the UNMIL Drawdown.Infrastructural development – the upgrade of airports, roads and public buildings – warranted an 18 percent increment; while Social Development received 20 percent more than its FY14/15 budget,as part of the Government’s commitment to critical needs in the area of youth development (vocational education) and social protection (cash transfers, etc.).

It is further noted that, while the Health Sector continues to enjoy the strong support of our humanitarian and development partners,in response to the Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic, Government has demonstrated its ownership of the recovery of this sector through a US$75 million appropriation. This marks a US$5 million (7 percent) increase in actual appropriation overthe US$70 million actually spentin that sector in the last budget year.

Appropriations were also made in the Security, Education, Infrastructure and Social Services Sectors to accommodate special needs.

Such support to the Education Sector includes a US$5 million supplement to the University of Liberia, above its US$10 million appropriationfor FY14/15; US$1 million to the Booker Washington Institute, for renovation of several trade shops on the campus; and US$1 million to Tubman University in Maryland County, for the construction of staff housing.

For infrastructure, the Ganta-YekepaRoad Pavement Project drew US$10 million,while Low-Cost Housing development in Marshall received US$1.2 million. In addition, US$2.4 goes toward the expansion of electricity, and US$44.3 toward road construction and maintenance.Another US$2 million was appropriated to commence work on the renovation of the RIA terminal building.

The Beach Workers will receive a total of US$1 million to continue their seashore cleaning operation; US$2 million constitutes Government’s investment in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services; and US$10.9 million has been appropriated for social services projects in various districts around the country.

The Security Sector received the largest share of such additional support, amounting to US$20 million, to support the UNMIL Drawdown.

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