October 30, 2107 By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Momodu Kargbo, has on Friday, 27th October, 2017, presented the 2018 budget of over 7 trillion Leones to the House of Parliament on Tower Hill in Freetown.
Speaking during his presentation of the budget, the finance minister said the 2018 budget addresses the implementation of sound macro-economic policies, intensifies domestic revenue mobilisation, and continues to diversify the economy instrument through investment in Agriculture, fisheries and tourism, including building human development amongst others.
The finance minister said in the last decade, the economy was on positive trajectory, recording impressive growth performance with a stable macro -economic performance, stating that external shocks, the Ebola Virus Diseases (EVD), the mudslides and flood have undermined the economic growth.
“Consequently, over the last year, government has been faced with a number of financial Challenges and difficult policy -decision compounded by the need to re-establish economic stability, while setting a stage for growth and economic transformation,” Momodu Kargbo said.
The Finance Minister reiterated that the 2018 Budget is at the tune over 7 trillion Leones, targeting all the areas of infrastructure, health, education, Social services, amongst others.
“Despite these challenges, I’m pleased to report that through our expenditure rationalisation measures, we have achieved considerable progress in restructuring our public finances, by bringing our expenditure profile into better alignment with revenue,” he said.
The Finance Minister said there is significant medium term challenges amidst the persistent economic fragilities, saying there was need to continue to improve road infrastructure, energy, water, and supply among others.
He also expressed the urgent need to provide housing for the poor, continue to improve health and sanitation facilities and ensure food Security, address the challenges, improvements in revenue generation, adding that despite significant efforts to raise domestic revenue in recent years, the structural issues of low fiscal revenue remain thus making the 2018 budget underpinning by the IMF extended credit facility arrangement.