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LTA budget hitches at Finance

With barely two months left for the end of the current budget year, there some institutions of government are yet to access their respective budgetary allocations.

While it may not have had access to the cash, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority or LTA has still been operating.

Its Chairman has disclosed that the since the passage of the 2014/15 national budget, the Finance and Development Planning Ministry has failed to make available funds allotted in the budget for the LTA.

The LTA has a cash allotment of US$11 million in the current budget. 

Budget analysts described the action of Minister Amara Konneh not to release the money as unprecedented and unusual in best and modern practices of financial transaction in the world.   

Dr. Antoinette Weeks said that due to the refusal of the Finance and Development Planning Ministry for the LTA  to gain access to its allotment was seriously hampering the work of the LTA. 

“As we speak, the Liberia Telecommunication Authority is facing US$6 million budget short fall. We are finding it challenging to live up to expectations because of the budgetary restriction or denial,” she claimed.

Explaining further about the short fall, Chairman Weeks noted that another aspect that led to the short fall, was the demand by  both the House of Representatives and Liberian Senate that 69 percent should be deducted from the budget- a demand the authority heeded to honestly.

Speaking at the Capitol Building on Monday before the senate’s Standing Committee on Telecommunications, Weeks indicated that it was unfortunate that since the passage of the budget last October, Minister Konneh and his team have refused to grant the LTA  access to the money already approved by the Legislature.

“We don’t know why the finance people are refusing for us to access our allotment. Due to the restrictions or denial by Finance Ministry, the functions of the LTA have barely come to a standstill,” Weeks said, noting that currently, the LTA was operating in the1/12 of the allotment as required by the 2008 Public Financial Management Law, which states that government agencies and ministries shall use only 1/12 of the allotment while the budget is still in the process of passage and subsequently approved by the president.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister for Budget at the Finance and Development Planning, Dr. James Kollie admitted to the claims by the LTA, but promised to make available allotments intended for the LTA.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor 

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