MONROVIA: The controversies surrounding the true status of the balance in the consolidated account of the Government of Liberia was settled yesterday, Thursday, February 1, 2024 when the Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Aloysius J. Tarlue told the plenary of House of Representatives that the total balance in the consolidated account as at January 19, 2024, taking into account of the Liberian dollars and the United States dollars component, stood at USD USD40, 480,266.5
Giving the breakdown of the amount, Governor Tarlue said as of January 19, 2024, the revenue of the government stood at LD1, 001,747,090.35 and USD16, 104,783.61. He said correspondingly, the expenditure of the government during the same time was LD1, 433,139.906.53 and USD11, 560,288.21.
Governor Tarlue, who was invited to the plenary to clarify the conflicting figures in the consolidated based on written communications from Representatives of Dixon Seebo and Ivar Jones, said as a result of the foregoing , the consolidated account using the two currencies was LD2,434,886,996.88 and USD27,665,071.82 respectively.
In what was seen as the final information that nailed the controversies surrounding the true status of the consolidated account, Governor Tarlue said a single current was adopted and preference was made for the United States dollar and so the Liberian dollar component was converted to the United States dollar component using the CBL official exchange rate of LD188.34 to a USD.
The result from the conversion of LD2,434,886,996.88 to the United States dollars according to the Governor came up to USD12,926,759.5.He said the amount was added to the USD27,665,071.82 which came up to USD40,480,266.5 as the total balance in the consolidated account.
It can be recalled that during his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Joseph Nyuma Boakai said the $40m that was reported as being in the consolidated account of the government was not supported by fact and that for observing such a huge difference gave him every reason to implement his plan to audit the previous government across the board.
“The report of US $40 million as the GoL’s consolidated account balance as at January 19, 2024 is not supported by the fact. The balance reported by the CBL as of the same date was US$20.5 million, highly encumbered, NOT US$40 million. To this end, we re-emphasize our earlier commitment to audit and ensure that regular audits will be a culture across all branches of government, not only the Executive”.
Earlier, there were some rowdy moments during the plenary when some of the lawmakers insisted knowing just the total balance in the consolidated account as opposed to the Governor first giving the full financial analysis of the account before revealing the final figure as the closing account as of January 19, 2024, two days before the inauguration of President Boakai.
“Mr. Presiding, our communication to the Governor was clear; to come and give us what is actually in the consolidated account of the government as there are two figures.
“The former President said he left $40m and President Boakai said he met $20.5m; so instead of the Governor giving us the financial analysis, we need the actual balance of the consolidated account”, said Representative Musa Hassan Bility of District 7, Nimba County.
Opinions were divided on his suggestion and while some supported Bility, some also insisted that the Governor was on point to give full analysis of the status of the consolidated account.
Deputy Speaker Thomas P. Fallah who presided over the plenary in place of Speaker Fonati J. Koffa who was absent due to other urgent state matters, over ruled that the Governor should go ahead and give the full analysis before coming up with the final figure in the consolidated account.
It is not yet clear how the government is going to respond to the latest information from the Central Bank of Liberia but it was speculated that the government will now listen to the just confirmed Minister of Finance and Development Planning Boima Kamara to work with other relevant government actors in the financial sector of the economy to streamline what the government hopes to achieve after the expected recast of the FY2024 national budget.