President signs investment budget
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday signed into law the national Budget for fiscal year 2012/2013 which will amount to $672,050,415. The budget had previously been passed by parliament on 23rd August.
In a press release from the Executive Mansion President Sirleaf is reported as saying that , “As a government, we are moving away from spending our meagre resources on recurring expenditure, to making more investments in key infrastructure and institutions that would begin the process of the much needed economic transformation the country needs.”
The president has highlighted four areas for central investment; infrastructure (power, ports and roads); youth development; capacity building; and national reconciliation.
In the new budget the government is intending to invest ‘more than US$106 million on infrastructure (US$45 million in energy alone; US$21 million in seaports and airports; US$40 million in roads and bridges); US$15 million in the young people; US$7 million in capacity development; and US$5 million in national reconciliation and healing’.
The government will also invest $81 million in national security and rule of law; $69 million in education; $70 million in health and $15 million in agriculture.
The new budget does not allow for any incremental increase in the civil service payroll. The press release states that ‘She (President Sirleaf) pointed out that the civil servants payroll is marred by fraudulent activities that are causing the government millions of dollars. “Ghosts and duplicate names are driving that,” she admitted. She had authorized the Minister of Finance and Director General of the Civil Service Agency to conduct a payroll clean-up exercise during the fiscal period that will seek to remove illegally employed, ghosts, duplicates and temporary personnel from the rolls. The President said that she and the Legislature have agreed that all savings from the exercise will be used exclusively to adjust compensation in the public sector’.