By Theresa Vamboi
Jacob Jusu Saffa, the Minister of Finance, on Friday 8th November 2019 presented a Bill entitled: “The Appropriation Act 2020” to Members of Parliament for consideration and subsequent approval for the services of the Republic of Sierra Leone for the Financial Year 2020.
The Appropriation Act, 2020 is seeking to authorize expenditure from the Consolidated Fund for the services of Sierra Leone and for other related matters. The Act is deemed to come into effect on the 1st of January 2020; with the total sum to be granted to His Excellency the President for the year 2020 by Parliament to the tune of Le 8.6 Trillion.
In commending the Budget to Parliament, the Minister of Finance referred to it as “the Bread and Butter Budget”; aimed at job creation and putting funds into the pockets of the citizenry of the country; particularly women and the youths by re-introducing a national micro credit scheme that will be executed by the Ministry of Trade through NGOs; micro finance institutions; commercial and community banks as implementing partners.
Overall, the Budget is aimed at consolidating and improving human capital development and employment in the country; the minimum wage will be increased from Le 500,000 to Le 600,000; job creation through innovative financing; recruitment of health workers, teachers and police officers; introducing payment of salaries to mayors/chairpersons and their deputies and increment of sitting fees and transport allowances for councillors; and the increment of salaries for core staff of council effective April 2020. The Budget has therefore been read the first time as part of the approval process in Parliament.
The Parliament has also given due notice to vote controllers to religiously attend and follow the Budget approval process in Parliament; otherwise their budgetary allocations will be withheld.