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Sierra Leone Business: MDAs warned not to submit budgets for projects not in the FSS 2019-2023

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has issued its Budget Call Circular (BCC) to Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), outlining its Budget strategy and priorities for Financial Year (FY) 2019. The ministry has directed that no new estimates should be submitted that are not in the Fiscal Strategy Statement (FSS) for 2019-2023.
Proposals and contributions to the Budget Speech should be submitted by 31st August, 2018 and should cover only completion of on-going projects in the FSS 2019-2023 and budget estimates for new projects and programmes that are approved by the relevant authorities but not in the FSS 2019-2023.
The BCC was transmitted to the MDAs in accordance with section 31 (1) of the Public Financial Management Act of 2016, to guide the preparation of the 2019 budget and the two outer years (2020 and 2021).
The Circular says it is imperative that MDAs make provision for all operational activities including all the subsidies in the Social and economic Sectors in their budget estimates and to also make provision for the clearance of arrears on goods and services and supply contracts.
To ensure that the huge arrears accumulated for Subscription to international Organisations, MDAs are encouraged to negotiate payment plans on outstanding arrears with their respective Organisations and submit it to MoF for consideration, as these do not form part of their budget ceiling.
The MDAs are being urged to particularly focus on operational activities for 2019 especially geared towards the completion of on-going programmes and projects focused on the policies and programmes in the New Direction. Good quality plans it says will have positive impact on resource allocation and budget execution
The purpose of the Circular is to communicate guidelines to Budgetary Agencies in preparing their budget proposals, indicative resource envelope and MDAs expenditure ceilings for FY 2019 and the medium term.
This the MoF says is within Government priorities for FY 2019 in line with the Presidential Address delivered on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament which is translated in the FSS 2019-2023, underpinned by Executive Orders 1 and 2, key policies and administrative issues for the preparation of strategic plans and expenditure estimates.
Consistent also with Section 33 (1) of the PFM Act the Minister of Finance is required to submit the budget to Parliament for FY 2019 and its medium-term perspective on Friday October 26, 2018, to allow Parliament enough time for its scrutiny and ratification.
Consultative discussions on the 2018 will be held between September 12 and October 10, 2018 in Freetown.
In its projected resource envelope for FY 2019, Total Revenue and Grants are projected to amount to Le5.7trillion (17.2 percent of GDP) in FY2019. Domestic Revenue is projected at Le5.5 trillion (16.0 percent of GDP) from an estimated Le4.6 trillion (15.4 percent of GDP) in 2018.
Total expenditure and net lending is projected at Le8.2 trillion (24.0 percent of GDP) from an estimated Le7.4 trillion (Le24.5 percent GDP) in 2018. Of the total expenditure and net lending, Goods and Services are projected at Le1.4 trillion, whilst Subsidies and Transfers are projected at Le1.1 trillion.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
Monday August 27, 2018.

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