By Sylvester Samba.
The Ministry of Finance yesterday formally commenced the 2019 Budget Process for all Parastatals and State Owned Enterprises, Ministries, Departments and Agencies at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex at Kingtom in Freetown.
In a bid to ensure fruitful discussions, authorities concerned have been asked to provide at least 50 (fifty) copies of their Strategic Plan and Budget Proposals and relevant documents for stakeholders not later than three (3) days before their scheduled date and time to the Budget Bureau, Ministry of Finance.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa emphasized that there must be an alignment of MDAs Budget with the New Direction Manifesto.
Mr. Saffa said that in the area of Revenue Mobilization over the Medium Term, the government recognizes the urgent need to deliver performance in the area of domestic revenue mobilization to finance the country’s fiscal and social infrastructure.
The Minister of Finance further explained that they have financed the following key programmes: subventions to Tertiary Education for the first and second quarters totaling Le100 billion which has been paid and have also released funds to devolved functions for the first half of FY 2018 to all 22 local councils amounting to about Le21 Billion Leones. “In addition, an average of Le3.9 billion is paid every month to all Councils to support the National Cleaning Exercise, he said, adding that the sum of about Le28 Billion has been processed and lodged into Bank Accounts of all schools for the first term fees under the Free Quality Education Programme.
“We have paid the sum of Le2.7billion to the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) to support the Biometric verification of all Public Servants nationwide to help clean up the payroll”, Mr. Saffa boasted.
He added that all of those and other critical expenditures including expenditures of government travels have been made from domestic revenue collected by the NRA with no disbursement of budgetary support from their development partners.
In his statement, the Deputy Chairman for Parliamentary Finance Committee, Hon. Moses A. Edwin said yesterday marked the first Policy Hearing under the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio led government for which he felt humbled and delighted to be part of the history making.
Hon. Edwin said that the State Budget shall be laid before Parliament by the Minister of Finance not later than two months after the beginning of the financial year. “The state budget is to be presented to Parliament on the last Friday of October each year”, the Deputy Chairman noted.
The Minister of Economic Development, Mrs. Nabeela Tunis said that her Ministry is very prepared to effectively deliver on the mandate of President Julius Maada Bio to transform Sierra Leone.
Giving a brief update on the series of steps they have taken along with their valued partners she said that they have developed a national plan that reflects the true development aspirations of each and every Sierra Leonean.
The Minister further explained that they were delighted that “the national planning process is going along with the budget process as it will enhance logical costing of the activities