Govt Predicts Biggest Postwar Budget -As Legislators Set to Return for 2022 Budget Passage

By: Stephen G. Fellajuah

The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr. Samuel D. Tweah, Jr has said that members of the national legislature are poised to return from their annual agriculture break to attend to the deliberation and passage of the 2022 national budget which he predicted to be the largest in terms of monetary figure since the end of the civil war in 2003.

The new budget arrangement is an initiative of the government to transition from the current fiscal year to a full calendar year and will now run from January 1 to December 31 every year and will also be similar with other countries in the ECOWAS Subregion. The last lap of the old budget arrangement, called Special Budget for Fiscal Year 2021 in the tone of $342,186,000 was passed by the national legislature in July this year with emphasis placed on road connectivity, health, education as priority areas.

“The House is coming back to discuss the 2022 Budget. We are going to pass the calendar year budget. We are moving from a fiscal to calendar year – from January to December, and this is probably going to be the biggest since the end of the war”, said Minister Tweah , adding that the budget will be funded by domestic revenue and the country’s International partners.

“In that budget we want to solve lots of problems in the country. We are pushing hard for domestic revenue performance, we want to do concrete things with that budget including infrastructures, roads, education, health, amongst other things. The Government of Liberia is going to be looking at game changing ways of life changing programs for the people of Liberia”, he added.

The Minister made the statement last Friday, October 1, 2021 when the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Civil Service Agency (CSA) signed a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA) and the Administration of University of Liberia at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.

Speaking further, he noted that the University of Liberia is an indispensable part of the re-strategizing processes, saying, “We want to guarantee that we all will meet our obligations through the MoU.” The MOU, according to the report, is aimed at solving pre-dated problems faced by the students and the Faculty of the state-run premier institution of higher learning in the country, to end strike actions and ensure the resumption of classes on the campuses of the university.

Minister Tweah, who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Presidential, Affairs Nathaniel Falo McGill, and Acting Minister of Public Works Ruth Coker-Collins, also said that he was quite delighted to sign the MOU with the institution and its faculty, under the mandate of President George Manneh Weah, and expressed profound thanks to ULFA and UL Administration for the patience shown, noting that the Faculty concerns are genuine and that the government attaches serious and utmost priority to them.

The President of the University of Liberia, Dr. Julius S. Nelson, in his remarks, expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Government of Liberia and the Civil Servants Agency for the efforts made in finding a common ground to solve the problems encumbering the University.

Dr. Nelson assured the commitment of the UL administration to work closely with the leadership of ULFA as well as with the students’ leadership and Staff Association in transforming the University of Liberia.

ULFA President Dr. Edna G. Johnny for her part described the MOU as a historic moment in solving the perennial problem that have plagued the University for years, saying, “We are grateful to the visitor of the University, Dr. George Manneh Weah, who has speedily intervened through the Minister of Finance Samuel Tweah Jr and the CSA to come up with an amicable solution to these problems.

“When we disengaged on September 17, the Minister of Finance contacted us immediately to end this problem and he kept engaging us, which led to the signing of this MoU. We did not disengage because we did not want to teach, we did because we had a problem; we interacted with the UL Administration, but we ended up where we are. Thank God the visitor has intervened. He has given us hope again that we can go back to the University to have dignity as professors and have a good working environment”, she narrated.

Minister of Education (MoE), Prof. D. Ansu Sonii, who welcomed the parties at the signing ceremony, held in the conference room of the Ministry of Education, said the meeting was in the best interest of the administration, Faculty and students of the UL.

“It is not in the interest of the University to be closed for even a day except for regular vacation because we have been out of school for nearly two weeks. We cannot afford to go further. The interest of this country is just too high; we cannot waste time,” he said.

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