IREDD Collaborates with Other Civil Society Organizations to Present “Shadow” Budget Option Paper to Liberian Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

Monrovia, June 23, 2020

The Institute for Research and Development Planning (IREDD) as program lead, today, Tuesday June 23, 2020, presented to Ministry of Finance and Development Planning authorities, a comprehensive “shadow” Budget Option Paper representing the views and aspirations of citizens for the Government of Liberia’s consideration whilst formulating the 2020/2021 Fiscal Budget.

Giving an overview of the Budget Option Paper, Mr. Harold Aidoo, executive director at IREDD noted that for the national budget to meet its “pro poor” credential it must, with deliberate intent, include a participatory framework for including the voices of people into the budget. He informed the gathered audience made up of Finance Ministry officials, civil society actors and the media that recommended actions for revenue include adopting a conservative revenue forecasting module that is realistic and credible, amending relevant sections of the Revised Revenue Code of 2011 consistent with the tax reforms stipulated in the Domestic Resource Mobilization Strategy, revision of the list of beneficiaries of tax waiver/exemptions and forging robust partnerships with bilateral and multilateral donors to close any potential revenue gap, as the domestic economy has worsened over the last five years, and is now further exacerbated by the devastating impacts of COVID-19.

On the expenditure side, recommendations include identifying “pro-poor” expenditures aligned to the policies, programmes and activities of the “pro poor agenda”, completing the Wage Bill Reforms with the aim of eliminating “ghost employees” in order to maintain an effective and efficient public sector workforce, institutionalize the implementation of the fiscal rules to eliminate wastes in recurrent expenditures and ensure tighter budget controls to curtail off-budget sending amongst others.

Responding to Mr. Aidoo’s presentation, Deputy Minister Brunson thanked civil society organizations for highlighting the voices of citizens for Government’s consideration into the budget process, pledged the Ministry’s willingness to collaborate with civil society for further high level discussions on ways in which the recommendations may be implemented by Government and promised to continue to work with the body on subsequent undertakings.

It is envisaged that the “Shadow” Budget Option Paper will become a regular feature for feeding the voices of citizens in the national budget document.

This year’s “Shadow” Budget Option Paper was developed through the tireless efforts of IREDD, CENTAL, CSI, Integrity Watch Liberia with support from the International Budget Partnership, The World Bank Group (Liberia) and SIDA.