• October 6, 2023

Bottle Necks Still Looms Large Amid 2024 Budget Discussions 

Bottle Necks Still Looms Large Amid 2024 Budget Discussions 
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The Ministry of Finance will today – Friday 6 October 2023 commence the 2024 fiscal year budget discussions at the ministry’s conference room, George Street, Freetown.

According to the ministry, this year’s budget discussions will mark a significant step toward shaping the country fiscal future.

Budget hearings for many economists serve as a cornerstone of the budgetary process that allows Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to convene and assess updates on sectorial policies outlined in the Medium-Term National Development Plan.

Shaping the country’s fiscal future can be view by many as unmanageable, considering the realities facing the country’s economy.

For many who are familiar with the country economic makeup, shaping the country’s fiscal management needs practical steps in the policy fronts rather than mere sweet words to appease set of political figures.

Accountability Civil Society Organizations, District Budget Oversights Committees and Non-State Actors will among other things will be yearning to know as to how far the Finance Ministry has gone in addressing the outstanding issues brought forward by Audit Service Sierra Leone’s Performance Audit Report. A Report that exposed the abysmal manner in which the country’s resources have been handled without regards to the laws and policies governing public finance management.

Financial and economic experts are calling on District Budget Oversights Committees, Non-State Actors and Accountability Civil Society Organizations to be meticulous in listening and asking questions during the bilateral budget discussions for MDAs already slated for 9 – 22 October 2023.

Non-State Actors, Budget Oversights Committees and Accountability CSOs are expected to pay attention on the operations and management of the country’s Public Debt by the Public Debt Management Division (PDMD) at the Ministry of Finance.

Audit Service Sierra Leone reports after the other, have been persistently putting questioning the nation’s sustainable public debt.

Because the government is unable to meet all its current and future payment obligations without exceptional financial assistance or going into default clearly indicates that Sierra Leone’s public debt is far from being sustainable.

The total public debt stock of the nation at the end of December 2020 amounted to Le30.7 trillion of which external and domestic debts accounted for Le20.05 trillion and 10.66 trillion respectively, Audit Service Sierra Leone Performance audit revealed.

According to the Ministry of Finance the bilateral budget discussions is designed to inform the formulations and consolidation of a demand driven budget, fostering broader participation, inclusivity and instilling a sense of ownership and sustainability in government projects, particularly the Big Five Game Changers.

Financial Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mathew Dingie had disclosed to the media that the circular aims to report on the guidelines to budgetary agencies for budget proposal preparations, articulate government priorities for the financial year 2024, in line with the government Big Five Game Changers that includes ‘Feed Salone’, ‘Human Capital Development’, youth employment scheme and technology and infrastructure.

Therefore, budget call circular is an annual routine event of the Ministry of Finance that had and continues to come up year in and out with serious issues that serve as bottle necks that remain unresolved by the ministry thereby posing mountain of challenges to the future of the country’s economic standings.

It could be recalled that the World Bank has long before now said the nation faces risks and challenges owing to the fact that the main domestic macroeconomic risks continues to high public debt and domestic payment of arrears, slower than expected.

Shaping the fiscal future of the nation should go beyond mere words, first thing first; address all outstanding issues raised in the Performance Audit Report by the Audit Service Sierra Leone in connection to the management and handling of the nation’s public debt.

Then well minded citizens will start reason with the ministry in the area of shaping the country’s fiscal future, therefore, the ministry of finance should up their game for benefit of all and sundry.

For the nation

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