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More demands that could delay passage of the US$649.72 million multi-year budget continue to emerge at the legislature with the Senate wanting full allotments for public corporations and state-run enttities and autonomous agencies spread in the draft budget before “touching” the fiscal tool.
Because the Acts, which created key autonomous and state-run agencies, including the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA), Liberia Peteroleum and Refinery Corporation (LPRC) and the National Port Authority (NPA), placed many of them under direct control of the Executive, their budgets are scrutinized and endorsed by the Executive.
But Senate President Pro-Tempore Gbezongar M. Findley said they (senators) would “not touch” the budget until the appropriations for autonomous agencies are “appendixed” to the draft budget pending at the 53rd legislature for enactment.
“You have the state-run enterprises’ budgets…they should be apendixed to the budget. If we don’t get those, we would not touch the budget,” Sen. Findley told a press conference Tuesday.
He added: “Anything that the government owns—autonomous agencies, public corporations and state-run enterprises—government owns 100% share in them. So, they have to report to the legislature.”
Sen. Findley stressed that the funds allotted to these entities are not their “private money” and should therefore be fowarded to the Senate for scrutiny.
“It is not their private money, but the people’s money, and for you to expend the people’s money, you must come here for us to tell you how to expend it.”
Sen. Findley criticised the budget for lacking “policy” for the “different” sectors and agencies, adding: “And until we can get those policies, we will not be able to determine the impact of this budget.”
“There are lot of things that we need to understand,” he emphasized.
Many lawmakers expressed their willingness to expedite passage of the fiscal 2012/2013 budget, but said that must be done procerurally.