BY SULAIMAN ALIM BANGURA
It is apt that the rationale behind parliament debating the government budget year – in – year – out is to amicably and judiciously allocate funds to all government ministries, departments, and agencies in steering their activities and plans in the subsequent year. With relation to the above, there is no gainsay or denial that when any MDAs tend to go beyond what is allocated to them by parliament, can be deemed to be a clear contravention of the Public Finance Management Act and the 1991 Constitution. Members of parliament of the country’s main opposition party -APC- under the dynamic leadership of honorable Chernor Maju Bah, have exposed the Ministry of Finance on their failure to disburse the actual amount of money that was allocated to them by parliament in the year 2020 and 2021 respectively.
The honorable Abdul Karbgo of constituency 077 of the All Peoples Congress party, while addressing the house during the 2022 government budget debate has eloquently and explicitly exposed, the Ministry of Finance of spending excess money beyond what was allocated to them by parliament, to execute their activities in both 2020 and 2021 year budget respectively. The honorable member, in pinpointing on the said act and to set the record straight, clearly established that, as stated in Section 36(1) of the Public Finance Management Act, government ministries, departments, and agencies should not spend beyond 2% in unallocated expenditure fund, which is separate from the actual amount allocated to them by parliament every year.
The honorable member, upon establishing the above, reliably informed the house of parliament that, in the 2020 budget, parliament allocated 1.879 Billion Leones and 4.28 Billion Leones in 2021 to the Ministry of Finance respectively. The Ministry of Finance, as he states, instead of disbursing the actual amount allocated to them by parliament, tends to unconstitutionally disburse 17.624 Billion Leones.
He further states that, as a result of the above mentioned, instead of the 2% which they suppose to spend, as provided in section 36(1) of the Public Finance Management Act, they now turned out to spend 19% in both 2020 and 2021. The honorable Lahai Marah of Constituency 042, also reiterated that the conduct of the Finance Ministry to spend excessively beyond what was budgeted by parliament is a crime that tends to breach not only the Public Finance Management Act but also section 113(3) and section 116 of the 1991 Constitution. Based on the aforementioned, the honorable members of parliament of the All Peoples Congress under the dynamic leadership of honorable Chernor Maju Bah called on the Anti Corruption Commission to investigate the said corrupt act and gross crucifixion of the constitution by the Ministry of Finance.