As Finance Ministry submits a portfolio of domestic and external debts
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has finally submitted to the Senate the long-awaited list of Liberia’s domestic and external debts portfolio.
Interestingly, River Cess County Senator Wellington Geevon Smith in a mood of humor pointed out that Liberia is indebted to ongoing battle nations Russia (US$20,00) and Ukraine (US$23,000) for Liberian students currently studying in those countries.
The money owed to Ukraine and Russia is part of the country’s total debt stock, which stands at US$1.47 billion of which domestic debts account for US$604.4 mill.ion; while the external debt stock accounts for US$861. million.
Of the domestic debts, the Government of Liberia owes the Central Bank of Liberia US$487.5 million; commercial banks, US$65.2 million; other institutions, US$51.5 million; and claims, US$0.2 million.
For external debt, multilateral institutions account for US$748.3 million, and bilateral sources, US$113.5 million.
Meanwhile, the Plenary of the Senate then immediately mandated its Senate Secretariat to cite the Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Samuel Tweah to appear before that body on March 3, to provide a detailed explanation on the domestic and external debts Portfolio of the government.
The decision of the Liberian Senate was triggered by a communication submitted by Montserrado County Senator, Abraham Darius Dillon requesting Plenary to cite the authority of the MFDP to provide detailed information on the Country’s domestic and external debts Portfolio.
Senator Dillon expressed concerns that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning must state the list of vendors, what services they performed and whether a bid was conducted for such vendors to be contracted, and what specific amounts formed to each vendor as opposed to placing a bulk figure in the budget to pay domestic and external debts.
During the final debate leading to the passage of the 2022 National Budget, Senator Dillon maintained that he was signing based on the condition that the country’s domestic and external debt portfolio would be later submitted to the Senate.
The communication from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, which was accompanied by a list of vendors and debts owed, has been distributed to every Senator in preparation for the Minister’s appearance.