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Parliament approves 2020 Supplementary Budget

Members of Parliament has on Friday July 24, 2020 debated and approved a supplementary budget for the 2020 financial year to the tune of Le 1.7 trillion as presented by the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa.

The supplementary budget is aimed at addressing the impacts of COVID-19 and accelerates economic recovery in the country.

According to the Finance Minister, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected most of the sectors, including health, tourism and trade, among others.

He said the crisis is threatening to reverse the gains made in stabilizing the economy and hard-won economic recovery of the past twenty-four months, but assured that the government is working hard to strike a delicate balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods.

He stated that building on the lessons learnt from the Ebola crisis, government took pre-emptive measures even before recording the index case on March 31, 2020.

“Consistent with international best practices in fighting such pandemics, the government adopted several containment measures including suspension of international flights, closure of borders, partial lockdowns, and restrictions on inter-district movements, ban on public gatherings, night curfews, and social distancing,” he said.

Outlining the budgeted expenditure for the rest of 2020, the minister stated that total expenditure and net lending is revised upwards by Le1.2 trillion to Le10.5 trillion in the Supplementary Budget from Le9.35 trillion in the original 2020 budget.

He continued that this budget is to reprioritize some of the budgetary allocations in the original 2020 budget to provide the fiscal space to fund critical activities necessary for building health sector resilience and keeping the economy stable.

According to the supplementary budget, an amount of Le308.8 billion is allocated to the health response interventions including the Government’s contributions to the operations of NaCOVERC.

Le298.3 billion is also allocated for the implementation of the Quick Action Economic Response Programme.

Allocations to Local Councils, grants to Tertiary Educational Institutions; Energy Subsidies, and transfer to the Road Maintenance Fund will remain as budgeted in the original 2020 Budget.

The allocations to MDAs including Defence, Police, Correctional Services will also remain as originally budgeted.

In his contribution, leader of the Coalition for Change, Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina described the supplementary budget as non-controversial, while commending President Julius Maada Bio and the finance minister for measures taken to tackle the impact of COVID-19.

He urged the government to work towards addressing mining related issues through the National Minerals Agency for economic.

Leader of the opposition, Hon. Chernor Bah called on the government to make public the actual figures of tractors procured to support agriculture in the country as there are discrepancies in the current figures.

He commended the government for prioritizing local content by awarding contracts to indigenous road construction companies, describing as a mark of continuity in governance.

Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Nyuma commended the minister and team for putting together the document and MPs for their brilliant contributions.

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