Liberia: Senate Requests Audit On Status of County Social Development Fund

Monrovia — The Plenary of the Liberian Senate has mandated its Committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget as well as Public Accounts and Audits to do a comprehensive audit on the status of budgetary appropriations for Social Development Fund (SDF) covering the period 2018 to 2022.

This decision was based on a communication from Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney G. Sherman, informing Plenary that the 2018 Local Government Act provided in Section 4.5 that funds appropriated in the Annual Budget for the counties, which are not utilized in the fiscal year appropriated, shall not lapse at the end of such fiscal year but shall be available to the counties in the ensuing fiscal year and shall be made available to the counties in said ensuing fiscal year.

Senator Sherman further said these appropriations are in a variety of forms, which is the County Development Fund (CDF), and the Social Development Fund (SDF) which contributions are from Concessions and Land Rentals paid by Concessions.

The Grand Cape County Senator pointed to the failure of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to comply with these budgetary appropriations each year and this term of the Legislature fully and completely will expire through the effluxion of time at the end of 2022.

As such, Senator Sherman prayed the indulgence of the Senate to mandate the two relevant committees to conduct an audit to determine the total amount that the MFDP has not remitted to the account of each county.

In a related news, The Liberian Senate has mandated its Committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget as well as Public Accounts and Audits to begin the scrutiny of the draft 2023 National Budget.

The Senate Plenary mandated the two Committees on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, to take possession of the national envelope after the submission with the total revenue enveloped for the period estimated at US$777.94 million.

The 2023 Draft Budget covers recurrent expenditure at US$623.95 million, while the total cost of Public Sector Investment Projects (PSIP) is projected at US$153.99 million.

Meanwhile, the total amount of US$623.95 million is allocated for recurrent expenditures broken down according to the following major economic classification: Debit Service US$91.57 million, Domestic Debit US$35.11 Million, External Debt US$56.46 million, as well as compensation at US$295.62 million. Also, the 2023 Draft Budget covers other expenditure as Goods and Services US$106.33 million, subsidy to private entities complementing Government’s efforts in strategic service delivery at US$15.70 million, Grants to Governmental Service Delivery entities at US$89.57 million, as well as social benefits put at US$16.52 million and Non -financial Assets at US$8.63 million. Predicated upon the submission of the Proposed Budget, the Plenary of the Liberian Senate immediately mandated the two Committees to work on the proposed Budget and send copies to all Senators for perusal.

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