By Emperor Bailor Jalloh in Freetown
As a normal Parliamentary procedure, after the introduction and first reading of the Appropriation Bill by the Minister of Finance every year, Sierra Leone Parliament has on Friday, November 19, 2021, in the Chamber of Parliament, Tower Hill, Freetown committed the bill entitled “The Appropriation Act, 2022” to Second Reading stage through a motion moved by the Leader of Government Business of the governing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Hon. Mathew Shar Nyuma and seconded by his deputy Hon. Bashiru Silikie after the introduction and first reading of Government Budget and Statement of Economic and Financial Policies for the Financial Year 2022 by the country’s Minister of Finance Dr Dennis K. Vandi on November 19, 2021.
The Theme of the Le 9.94 trillion 2022 National Budget is “ Building Resilience for Inclusive Green Recovery “.
The Appropriation Act, 2022 is an Act to authorize expenditure from the Consolidated Fund for the Services of Sierra Leone and related Matters in tandem with section 112 and subsection (6) of Sierra Leone Constitution Act No. 6 1991.
Financial Provisions in the Standing Orders ( Revised) of the Sierra Leone Parliament 2006
Standing Orders ( SO) 63:- Presentation, First Reading and Second Reading of Appropriation Bill
(1) There shall be submitted to Parliament by the Minister of Finance before the beginning of the fiscal year to which it refers a budget which shall include the documents delineated in subsection 23 of the Government Budgeting and Accountability Act, ( Act No. 3 of 2005).
(2) All proceedings upon the Appropriation Bill subsequent to its first reading, which takes the form of the Budget Speech, shall be subject to the provisions of the remaining paragraphs of this Order and of the next five succeeding Orders.
(3) After the Bill has been read the first time, it shall be put down for Second Reading not less than two clear days thereafter and five days shall be allotted for the Second Reading of the Bill. The debate shall be confined to the financial and economic state of Sierra Leone and the general principles of Government policy and administration as indicated by the Bill and its Estimates…
(4) For the purpose of this S.O. No 65 (Allotment of Time in Committee of Supply) an allotted day shall be any day on which the consideration of the Appropriation Bill, whether by the House or in the Committee of Supply, stands as the first Public Business for that day, and on such a day no other Public Business may be taken.
S.O. 64 Committee of Supply
(1) There shall be a Committee of the Whole House to be called the Committee of Supply. The deliberations of the Committee shall be in public.
(2) Without prejudice to the mandate of the Finance Committee in these Orders, the Estimates shall upon presentation to the House stand referred to the Committee of Supply and the Appropriation Bill upon being read a second time shall stand committed to that Committee.
(3) To enhance the effectiveness of the scrutiny of Heads of Expenditure by the whole House, the Committee of Supply shall, pursuant to subsection (6) of Section 112 of the Constitution, incorporate scrutiny by a number of Appropriation Subcommittees formed out organising the Membership of Parliament into groups.
S.O. 65. Allotment of Time in Committee of Supply
(1) There shall be allotted a maximum of five days for discussion of the Appropriate Bill in Committee of Supply.
Section 112. (1):- Authorisation of expenditure from Consolidated Fund
Subject to the provisions of section 107 of this Constitution, the Minister for the time being responsible for finance shall cause to be prepared and laid before Parliament in each financial year estimates of the revenues and expenditures of Sierra Leone for the next following financial year.
(2) The Head of the expenditure –
a. of the estimates shall be included in a Bill to be known as Appropriation Bill which shall be introduced into Parliament to provide for the issue from the Consolidated Fund of the sums of money necessary to meet that expenditure and the appropriation of those sums for the purpose specified therein; and
b. of the Consolidated Fund payments shall be laid before Parliament for the information of the Members thereof.
Section (6) Parliament shall prescribe the procedure for the presentation of Appropriation Bills.
VI . The 2022 Budget
151. “Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, the total revenue and grant for the financial year 2022 is projected at Le 9.94 trillion. This includes domestic revenues of 7.64 trillion ( 15.1 per cent of GDP) and grants of Le 2.3 trillion. Of the grants, budget support to be provided by the World Bank will amount to Le 783.0 billion and project grants, Le 1.32 trillion. The budget for 2022 is fully financed with no financing gap. Principal loan repayments will amount to Le 740 billion in 2022. “
152. “Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, the continued recovery in economic activities and strict implementation of the revenue policy and administrative measures already described will improve domestic revenue collection in 2022. Of the total projected domestic revenue, Income Taxes will contribute Le 2.71 trillion; Goods and Services Tax ( GST) Le 1.46 trillion; Import Duties Le 950.1 billion; Excise duty on Petroleum Products Le 706 billion; Mining Revenues Le 316 billion; Royalty on Fisheries Le 142.0 billion; parastatals dividends, Le 125.4 billion; TSAs Le 413.1 billion; Other Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies Le 144.8 billion; and Road User Charges Le 226.0 billion. “
Expenditure Priorities, Projections and Allocations
153. “Mr . Speaker, Honourable Members, as indicated earlier, the expenditure priorities of Government remain Human Capital Development, economic diversification including agriculture and food security; infrastructure development; combating climate change and promoting good governance as articulated in the Medium -Term National Development Plan ( 2019 – 2023 ). The continued implementation of the programmes and projects embedded in these sectors will support the resilient recovery of the economy in 2022. Hence, the composition and allocation of Government expenditure for the 2022 financial year reflect these priority areas “.
154. “ Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, total expenditure and net lending for 2022, including arrears pay down, is projected at Le 11.81 trillion ( 23.3 percent of GDP) compared to LE 10.97 trillion for 2021. Of this, recurrent expenditures will amount to Le 8.17 trillion ( 16.1 percent of GDP). Capital expenditures will amount to Le 3.64 trillion ( 7.7 percent of GDP), of which domestic financed capital expenditures will amount to Le 1.19 trillion. Foreign financed capital expenditures are projected at Le 2.45 trillion. An amount of Le 100 billion is allocated for the payment of Pre- April 2018 arrears “.
Wages and Salaries
155. “ Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the Government wage bill for 2022 is projected at Le 3.90 trillion ( 7.7 percent of GDP), compared to Le 3.75 trillion in 2021. This increase in the nominal wage bill reflects Government’s commitment to award a salary increase of 25 percent to all the security forces over a three-year period, that started in 2021. Employees of tertiary educational institutions, including Universities, Polytechnics and Government Technical Institutes will also receive a further pay rise of 25 percent. The increase in the wage bill will also cover the recruitment of 1, 200 teachers; 1,000 health workers; 1,000 police officers; 200 correctional officers; and 85 firefighters as well as 500 academic and administrative staff for tertiary educational institutions especially the newly established universities”.
Conclusively, Second Reading / Parliamentary debate is the second stage of Appropriation Bill as prescribe by law.