November 21, 2016 By Regina Pratt
Member of Parliament of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party(SLPP) from the Moyamba district has demanded that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Momodu Kargbo, explained to the house the Le10.2 billion difference in subsidies paid in September this year by the government.
Making her contributions on debate of the 2017 Appropriation Bill, Hon. Veronica Sesay said there was a difference with regards the calculation of government expenditure for September, 2016, as stated on page 2, paragraph 5 and 6 of the 2017 budget.
According to her, the social safety net programmes were expanded as a result of the negative impact of the shocks on incomes and welfare.
“I would have loved the Finance Minister to be in Parliament during this debate. I will not say anything until and unless the minister is here to convince me on the overall figure as there is a difference of Le10.2 billion on the calculations,” she said.
She opined that they were representatives of the people who expect them to say the truth and put the government on its toes.
Hon. Sesay claimed that when all the figures were added, the total would have been Le331.2 billion instead of the Le341.4 billion as stated in the 2017 budget.
“I am not underrating his Minister of State but he did not present the budget to us,” she added.
The deputy minister, Patrick Conteh, had informed the House that is was a typographical error.
As at end September 2016, the budget indicated that government spent Le 137.5 billion on tuition fees for university students, Le 6.4 billion as grant to boarding homes and handicap schools and Le 23.6 billion for the girl child education programme.
The budget also states that over Le 61.0 billion was transferred to all the 19 Local Councils to cover school fee subsidies for primary schools, examination fees for the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) and West Africa Senior School Certificate Examinations(WASSCE), as well as solid waste management services.
A total of Le 25.2 billion was provided by the government to support the Free Healthcare programme through the procurement and supply of basic drugs, malaria prevention and control, as well as immunization programmes.