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Sierra Leone News: Petroleum Agency spends over 60% of revenue collected on salaries

The Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) has been asked to redo their 2019 budget because the Ministry of Finance discovered that they want to spend over 60 percent of the revenue they generate on salaries for 21 staff. The PRA presented a total budget for Financial Year 2019 of Le9.27 billion and salaries account for Le4.55 billion. It has been the trend since 2016 when they spent Le3.28 billion on staff cost as against Le1.61 billion spent on general and operational expenses. The PRA Fund as administered by the operations department is Le17.25 for every litre of petrol, diesel and kerosene sold, whereas registration and licenses fees administered by the specialised department is guided by fees as stipulated in the Second Schedule of their statutory instrument. “You cannot have a car and anytime you buy they take that amount and it goes into their revenue stream, it is important that they take it seriously as taking this money and allocating it to themselves is serious” said Facilitator Lauratu Johnson. Johnson said that the Agency’s budget should speak to the services they are providing and cannot continue to collect revenue just to pay salaries and board fees and the populace is not benefitting from the taxes they pay. The Agency was however asked to go and redo their budget which will show how their activities are connected to their strategic plan which they will achieve through their vision, mission and objective. “We want you to do a SMART budget that is realistic and should carry at least 50 percent of your revenue that will be used to provide service to this nation.” The objective for which the Agency was established is to license and regulate the importation, refining, storage, transportation and distribution of petroleum and petroleum products so as to ensure their regular supply to users at reasonable prices and the efficient administration and enforcement of the enactments relating to downstream petroleum activities. The PRA costs projections for 2019 to be incurred is estimated as follows, Finance and Administration is Le4.3 billion, Operations is Le132 million, Registration and Compliance is Le249 million and salaries is Le4.5 billion. Also in 2017 they spent Le4.35 billion on staff cost as against Le2.30 billion for general operation expenses. And for the first half of 2018 Le2.49 billion out of the Le6.26 billion budgeted towards staff cost. Their revenue performance from financial year 2016, 2017 and half of 2018 stands at Le14.2 billion (Le14,200,267,204.00) as at June 2018 they have expended on staff costs and general operational expenses Le14.9 billion (Le14,974,172,848.00).

Monday September 24, 2018.

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