Despite intense lobbying that preceded
submission of the multi-year fiscal budget of US$649.72 million to the national legislature almost a month later than scheduled, approving it is far from sight.
“This is not a 26 budget which we will hurry to pass because 26 is coming. We’ll have to thoroughly scrutinize all areas this financial document covers before approving it. And that will take time,” Rep. Edwin Snowe (Montserrado district #6) warned Friday during their budget retreat in Careysburg.
In fact, Rep. Snowe, who chairs the House Committee on Rules, Order and Administration, said lawmakers would begin their Independence Celebrations break this week and return in August before resuming the budget scrutiny process.
He said the budget must be seen to touch the lives of all Liberians and not only those who are civil servants.
But the Executive, which presented the draft budget at the Capitol last May, has since experienced anxiety following a senate ultimatum not to pass the budget unless President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf fired acting mayor Mary Broh of Monrovia.
Their delay in deliberations on the draft budget prompted the President to host a dinner for the lawmakers followed by a luncheon hosted by Finance Minister Amara Konneh for both houses of the bicameral legislature in a clear lobby for them to expedite the budget.
Unfortunately, the fiscal budget should have started functioning on 1 July 2012, all indications now show that actual deliberations on this major financial document will begin in August with a cumbersome process involving top officials of ministries and government agencies, as well as experts from the public and civil society organizations.