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Friday, July 19, 2024

CONCERNS RAISED OVER BUDGET DISCREPANCIES FOR NATIONAL FIRE SERVICE

Date:

MONROVIA – Senator Saah Joseph of Montserrado County has flagged concerns regarding discrepancies in the budget allocation for the National Fire Service. According to Senator Joseph, the legislature allocated $3 million for the procurement of fire trucks in the 2024 National Budget. However, the Ministry of Finance has reportedly informed the National Fire Service that only $2 million was allocated.

The discrepancy has raised significant questions and concerns about the handling of the national budget.  Senator Joseph highlighted the apparent shortfall between the legislature’s allocation and the Ministry of Finance’s claim.

The legislature’s allocation of $3 million was intended to bolster the National Fire Service’s capacity by procuring much-needed fire trucks. However, with the Ministry of Finance’s assertion that only $2 million was allocated, the procurement process is now mired in confusion and uncertainty. This gap not only affects the efficiency and preparedness of the National Fire Service but also raises broader issues of financial transparency and accountability within the government.

President Joseph Boakai signed the approved 2024 national budget on May 8, 2024, with an adjusted revenue envelope totaling $738,859,827, up from the initially proposed $692,408,827. This adjustment represents an increase of $46,451,000. Despite the budget being printed into handbill on May 16, 2024, it has not been made public, violating legal requirements for transparency.

The delay in making the approved budget public has fueled suspicions and criticisms. The law mandates that the approved budget should be accessible to the public immediately after its publication into handbills. However, 38 days have passed since its printing, and the budget remains undisclosed, undermining public trust and the administration’s commitment to transparency.

Senator Joseph’s concerns are part of a larger issue of budgetary transparency that has plagued the administration. The public and other stakeholders are left in the dark about the final allocations and adjustments made in the approved budget. This lack of transparency hampers effective public oversight and accountability.

The discrepancy in the National Fire Service’s budget allocation underscores the need for immediate action and clarification from the Ministry of Finance. It is crucial for the administration to address these concerns promptly and ensure that the allocated funds are accurately disbursed and utilized for their intended purposes.

In light of these issues, Senator Joseph and other concerned parties are calling for a thorough investigation into the budget discrepancies and greater transparency from the Ministry of Finance. Restoring public trust requires not only the publication of the approved budget but also a clear and transparent explanation of any discrepancies and adjustments made.

The Boakai administration must prioritize transparency and accountability to uphold its commitment to good governance. Ensuring the accurate allocation and disbursement of funds, as well as promptly publishing the national budget, are essential steps toward rebuilding public confidence and demonstrating a genuine commitment to financial integrity.

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