The Parliament of Sierra Leone has commenced debate on the 2023 National Budget after it was presented to Parliament by the Minister of Finance, Dennis Vandi earlier this month for the services of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
The Bill is seeking authorization of expenditure from the consolidated revenue fund for the services of Sierra Leone and other related matters.
Commencing the debate, Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament, Hon. Francis Amara Kai-Samba spoke about the current economic crises in the world as a result of COVID-19 pandemic and Russia -Ukraine war.
Amid and global economic downturn, Hon. Kai-Samba assured MPs that the Government will continue to support its flagship programme, the free quality education through the provision of teaching and learning materials, school fee subsidies and an expansion of the school feeding scheme.
He also said that 22% of the Budget accounts for human capital development and 10% for the health sector.
Hon. Alice Kumabeh praised President Bio for his innovative strides for the development of the country, citing multiple roads construction with a view to connecting every part in the country. An example she gave is the construction of the Bo-Mattru road.
Hon. Saa Paul Sam alluded to what the finance minister had said on the Russia-Ukraine war and the provision of fuel subsidy by Government to cushion the economic effects on the citizens of Sierra Leone.
However, he blamed Government for increasing the salaries of Commissioners. He also said that the late payment of school fee subsidies will undermine the efficacy of the free quality education introduced by the Government of Sierra Leone under the leadership and supervision of President Julius Maada Bio.
Responding, Hon. Munir Lansana said that the Government had done a lot for education and health sectors in the country and cited statistical progressions from 2018 to date.
Amid the global economic impacts, he commended the Government of Sierra Leone for managing the situation well by putting measures in place to combat the effects on the masses.
The debate on the National Budget continues and MDAs are required to attend throughout for the purposes of implementing the recommendations that will be advanced by MPs during the course of the debate.