National Security Budget Is A Handout
By: D. Emmanuel Mondaye
National Security Minister, Lorsey Kendor says, the amount allotted to his Ministry as its 2004-2005 fiscal budget by the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) is a "handout."
Raising qualm surrounding his ministry’s allotment of the national budget for national security during a special budget hearing at the Capitol recently, the Security Minister said, contrary to a budget presented by his ministry, US$479,364.30 was accepted; while US$563,954.00 has been set aside as what the budget committee termed as "alternative or supplementary budget."
He averred that as the 2005 General and Presidential Elections draw closer, the NTGL should be cognizant of the fact that there would be people with silent weapons, grenade attackers and propagandists that could pose security threat to the process; as such, there is a need for the ministry’s budget to be increased.
The Security Minister said in order to avert these crimes, there is also a need that the government equip the ministry financially if it should prevent and detect state crimes.
According to him, the government should look at the prevailing atmosphere and foresee what would happen by taking the necessary action not to blame the security apparatus tomorrow.
He disclosed that those security personnel who are working both internally and externally for the country need to be empowered to avoid them from providing imaginative intelligence reports to the government.
He used the opportunity to caution the NTGL government to also pay serious attention to national security, especially in the area of operations to effectively perform the statutory functions.
Briefing legislative reporters, the Chairman of NTLA Committee on Ways, Means, and Finance Tapple E. Doe, assured ministries and agencies that appeared before the committee that all would be done to consider their concerns.
Rep. Doe said those who have problem with their budget allotment might be included into the supplementary budget when the committee meets with the executive.
Present during the special budget hearing were, Representatives Rennie Jackson, James Momo and Prince Toe of the House Standing Committee on National Security.
Meanwhile, government institutions that appeared for the budget hearing included the Liberia Rubber Development (LRD), National Elections Commission (NEC), Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Bureau of State Enterprises, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), amongst others.
The special budget hearing is the first of its kind to be held by the NTLA budget committee and it was broadcast live to afford Liberians and financial experts the opportunity to have a saying.
In a related development, the NTLA has passed the US$80M 2004-2005 fiscal national budget.