Budget Starts Today

 

By Aruna Rashed Toma Bangura

The Financial Secretary (FS) in the Ministry of Finance, Sahr Lamin Jusu has reportedly said that the preparation for the 2018/2019 national budget starts today, 12th September, 2018. The process, he said, will seek to verify and ascertain the financial requirements of all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

As the name ‘Estimated Budget’ implies, Mr. Jusu said it will be mainly based on the basis of a self-operating system with the intention to improve budget cleaning and increasing revenue mobilization.

The FS maintained that the ‘New Direction’ budget will not be a balloon budget but a realistic estimate that would meet the needs of the people.

The budget analysis will endeavor to direct government expenditure towards diversification of the economy as expressed by the President Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio. Thus, the focus would be on increased expenditure for education, health and energy in a bid to improve the lives of the people.

20% of the budget, he said, will be allocated to education to achieve the President’s free quality education programme. Le28 billion, he added, has already been allocated to the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education as first term fees for the scheme.

Mr. Jusu stated that for the first time in fifteen years, government will be allocating money to state owned enterprises (parastatals) to enhance their performance and productivity so that they can in turn contribute to revenue generation.

He maintained that the budget will focus on efficient management of the economy and that the Ministry of Finance will introduce the Electronic Cash Register System to instill discipline in tax and revenue collection.

Mr. Jusu further emphasized that the Ministry wants to ensure that there is sanity and equity in the allocation and disbursement of resources. Thus, he said, government will monitor projects and development funds of all MDAs.

Government, the FS furthered, will allocate Le400 billion to universities; Le221 billion to NASSIT for 11 months as monthly contributions for all government employees; and Le60 billion as pension for former government ministers.

Mr. Jusu concluded by stating that the Auditor General’s Report state that some contracts were bloated and will seek advice from the Auditor General as to which contracts should be honoured or not.