National Legislature Begins 2022 Budget Hearing

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The 2022 draft national budget, which was submitted by the Executive a few weeks ago to the National Legislature and sent to committee room on last week Thursday, November 18, 2021, has been opened for revenue hearing at the 54th National Legislature.

   The Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on the revenue component of the fiscal year budget, being conducted by members of the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate, formally began on Thursday, November 25, 2021 in the House’s first floor conference room.

   The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) appeared in day one of the budget hearing.

   Making his opening remarks, the House’s Chairman on Ways, Means Finance and Development, Representative Thomas P. Fallah, said the budget was submitted to the National Legislature a few weeks back, and it is expected that the august body will review the policies and provisions submitted for subsequent approval and, by extension, make amendment into the proposed financial instrument that will govern Liberia’s expenditure for the next calendar year, January—December 2022.

   “It is from this backdrop that the House of Representatives, to include the House of Senate, has convened in this sacred conference hall, as we normally do to sit on this table and discuss with cross-section of line agencies to justify why they should be prioritized in the resource envelope,” Representative Fallah added.

   Speaking on behalf of the MFDP at the hearing, the Deputy Minister of Finance for Fiscal Affairs, Dr. Samora P.Z. Wolokollie, said the National Resource envelope is US$785,587,301.25 (equivalent of seven hundred eighty-five million, five hundred eighty-seven thousand, three hundred and one United States dollar and twenty-five cents). According to him, 13% of that amount is domestic currency, amounting to L$21 billion, and 87% is actual United States dollars, amounting to US$681.9 million.

Dr. Samora P.Z. Wolokollie, Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning

   Deputy Minister Wolokollie stated that the average annual projected exchange rate by the Central Bank of Liberia is US$1 to L$202.7.

   He said the domestic revenue projection is US$640.2 million (82%), while external resources account for US$145 million (18%).

   “Revenue assumptions are supported by the following macro-economic and tax policy assumptions: Real GDP (in dollar terms) for 2021 is estimated at US$3.2 billion, and is expected to reach US$3.3 billion in 2022.

   “The statistics speaks to the good health of the economy under our stewardship. For FY 2022, there are no new tax policy measures underpinning this budget. However, we intend to further strengthen those policies that are already in effect. Tax Revenue, which forms the dominant share of government revenue, is comprised of compulsory transfers to the general government sector,” Wolokollie said.

   For his part, the Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Thomas Doe Nah, said the LRA is determined to raise the US$US$640,587,340.

   The Chairman of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee is Representative Thomas Fallah, and is co-chaired by Senator Morris Saytumah.

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