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Friday, June 14, 2024

SENATOR AMARA KONNEH CRITIQUES PRESIDENT BOAKAI’S BUDGET PROPOSAL

Date:

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – Former Finance Minister under the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf government and current Senator of Gbarpolu County, Amara Konneh, has voiced concerns over President Boakai’s proposed US$692 million budget. Konneh highlights that the budget falls short due to surcharges foregone by Executive Order (EO) #128, which suspended surcharges on petroleum pricing.

In a recent social media post, Konneh pointed out that EO #128, issued on March 21, 2024, just a week after the budget submission, is expected to create a deficit ranging from US$14 million to US$25 million in the Draft Budget for FY2024.

Senator Konneh identifies two primary issues with the Executive Order:

  1. The absence of fiscal analysis prior to issuing EO #128, impacting the revenue envelope and allocations in the budget.
  2. The EO’s failure to reduce the cost of living for citizens, as fuel prices have remained unchanged since its implementation.

Konneh further questions the policy’s efficacy in benefiting petroleum importers over citizens, leading to a significant revenue loss for the country. This loss is particularly concerning given the planned increases in investments in education, health, and municipal governments.

Referencing global Platts oil price data, Konneh argues that EO #128 benefits importers without adequate justification. He suggests that the EO could have been delayed until oil prices surpassed October 2023 levels.

In conclusion, Konneh raises critical questions about how the government plans to effectively fund the budget when a substantial portion is waived due to the suspension of petroleum surcharges.

He emphasizes the need for policy consistency and broader stakeholder consultations to ensure transparency and credibility in government actions. While acknowledging the challenges in adjusting the budget, Konneh stresses the importance of informing citizens and building trust through transparency.

Konneh’s critique highlights the importance of responsible fiscal management and underscores the need for informed decision-making in budgetary matters.

Socrates Smythe Saywon
Socrates Smythe Saywon is a Liberian journalist. You can contact me at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or reach out via email at saywonsocrates@smartnewsliberia.com or saywonsocrates3@gmail.com.

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