By Jariatu S. Bangura
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Dennis K. Vandi, has on Friday, November 11,presented to Members of Parliament the 2023 Appropriation Act which includes the budgetary allocations for the financial year.
Presenting the bill with the theme “Addressing the needs of the vulnerable in the context of the multiple crises” the minister said the planned expenditure for 2023 is projected at NLe9.35 billion (14.0 percent of GDP) for domestic revenue.
“The expenditure priorities of government focus on expanding production of food, improving education and health services, investing in infrastructure and improving the business environment to promote sustainable, inclusive and greener growth for job creation,” he said, adding that the budget will also fund the 2023 general elections.
He noted that of the total projected domestic revenue, Income Taxes will contribute NLe3.7 billion; Goods and Services Tax (GST) NLe1.8 billion, Customs and Excise revenue NLe1.7 billion, Mining Revenues NLe576.8 million, Royalty on Fisheries NLe179.0 million, Parastatals Dividends, including cargo tracking NLe196.0 million, TSA Agencies NLe801.5 million and Road User Charges NLe197.9 million.
He stated that the total expenditure and net lending for 2023 is projected at Le15.1 billion (22.7 percent of GDP) compared to NLe13.7 billion (25.7 percent of GDP) for 2022.
Of that, he said the recurrent expenditure will amount to NLe10.9 billion (16.4 percent of GDP).
He said the Capital Expenditure will amount to NLe4.2 billion (6.3 percent of GDP), of which, domestic financed capital expenditures will amount to NLe1.2 billion.
He stated that the government wage bill for 2023 is projected at NLe 4.8 billion (7.2 percent of GDP) compared to NLe4.3 billion (8.1 percent of GDP) in 2022.
He explained that the increase in the nominal wage bill provides for government’s commitment to a 45 percent increase in salaries for teachers for the next three years, starting with an annual increase of 15 percent in January 2023. He cited the final 25 percent increase in salaries for the security sector, as pronounced in the 2021 budget speech, implying that the security sector would have received a 75 percent increase from 2021 to 2023.
He said for the recruitment of 2,000 Police Officers, 1,000 will first be recruited effective January 2023 and another 1,000 effective March 2023, citing the recruitment of 500 health workers, which is part of the delayed recruitment for the FY2022 quota.
Minister Vandi, stated that the recruitment for the newly created sub-vented agencies- National Land Commission, National Cyber Security Coordinating Center, Consumer Protection Commission, Wages and Compensation Commission and one Foreign Mission (UNESCO Desk Paris) and payment of gratuities for the Leadership and Members of Parliament, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, and Foreign Diplomats in March 2023.