Liberia: Government Tight-Lipped on Annual Message Budget

The Government of Liberia is tightlipped on budget allocated for President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s first Annual Message to the 55th Legislature, scheduled for today, January 29, 2024.

Despite assuring the public of the President’s good health to deliver the Annual Message, the government has yet to disclose financial details behind the event.

Speaking in special press briefing here on Sunday, January 27, at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism in Monrovia, Montserrado County District#7 Representative Emmanuel Dahn, who chairs the House Committee on Executive, openly said he cannot disclose for now how much money was expended in preparation for today’s ceremony, indicating that since there was no budget approved, they went out to vendors and contractors from different places to pre-finance the program.

However, he promises that once a collaborative effort is made with both the Senate and the House of Representatives, details of all expenditures made in the preparation will be shared with the public.

“Since there is no finance minister currently, to sign the budget and nobody to provide the money, the leadership of both houses decided to come together to act, inviting Liberian contractors and venders to pre-finance the process”, Representative Dahn explains.

Article 58 of the Constitution of Liberia mandates: “The President shall, on the fourth working Monday in January of each year, present the administration’s legislative program for the ensuing session, and shall once a year report to the Legislature on the state of the Republic. In presenting the economic condition of the Republic the report shall cover expenditure as well as income.”

It is this constitutional mandate that President Boakai is expected to fulfill today, as he delivers his agenda for the first year to the Liberian people with preparations reported to be almost 98% complete.

Rep. Dahn highlights the collaborative efforts with Speaker J. Fonati Kofa, Deputy Speaker Thomas Fallah, and Senate President Pro-Tempore Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence to ensure the smooth execution of the President’s address. Originally planning for 350 tickets, he indicates a potential increase to 500 tickets due to undisclosed factors.

As part of security measures, Chief of Public Safety of the Liberia National Police (LNP) John Saah announced a temporary halt to all traffic passing through the Executive Mansion.

Inspector Saah says regular traffic will be permitted until 3:00 PM, after which vehicles from ELWA Junction through Tubman Boulevard toward central Monrovia will be redirected from Vamoma House Junction to Sinkor, while those from central Monrovia to Sinkor will be directed to use the Jallah Town route, instead.

He says regular traffic will resume immediately after the President’s official convoy leaves the premises of the Capitol.

Residents are asked to stay clear of the Capitol Building if they have nothing to do with the President’s Annual Message. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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