Paynesville – On May 13, 2022, popular political figure Moriah Yeakula and youth activist Martin K. N. Kollie made separate Facebook posts claiming that various allotments in the 2022 National Budget were made to lawmakers, President George Weah, First Lady Clar Weah, and the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill.
Fact Check By: Jerry Gaye | LVL Fact Checker
Ms. Yeakula and Mr. Kollie claimed that the offices of the President, the First Lady, the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs and lawmakers are the “biggest beneficiaries” of the 2022 National Budget.
Ms. Yeakula wrote to social media: “The budget has passed, and the biggest beneficiaries are the 103 lawmakers who got 64 million, George Weah- 5 million, his wife 700k ($700,000) and Prime Minister McGill office – 20 million. But the Police Training Academy got 165K. Liberians open ur [your] eyes oh.”
Mr. Kollie also posted to Facebook: “This fiscal year 2022, you (President Weah) alone have US$5,453,000 while your wife, Clar Weah has US$700,000 in our National Budget. Wow.”
Did the pair get their facts right about these allocations in the 2022 National Budget? We have checked the budget.
First, note that the total estimated resource envelope of the approved 2022 National Budget is US$786.6 million – this amount, when compared to the previous budget, has an increment of 38.1%.
Page 39 of the instrument shows that the Legislature is allotted $64,383,920, which is an increment of $10,393,084 in the FY2020-21 budget that had an allocation of $53,990,836 of the Legislature.
The Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs has an allocation of $20,324,844 in the 2022 budget approved by the Legislature. This means, the Ministry of States gets $2,059,368 more than what was allocated in 2020/201 budget. This allocation also shows an allotment of $5,453,000 for the President’s office – this is US$2,098,509 more than what the President’s office was allotted in the 2020/2021 fiscal year.
Meanwhile, a further check of the budget to determine the exact allocation made to the office of the First Lady shows that there is no specific budget line assigned to her office. We also reviewed the Budget Code 103 and did not see any reference to the Office of the First Lady.
However, the summation of the two budget lines (Lawmakers and the Ministry of States) is $84,708,764 – which is 10.65 percent of the entire budget. This joint total is the second highest allocation next to the allocation made to the Ministry of Finance, which is 19.3 percentage.
Based on the details we gathered from each budget line in the approved 2022 National Budget, we conclude that the claims made by Ms. Yeakula and Mr. Kollie about the allocation made to the Legislature and the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs including the Office of the President are correct. This conclusion is based on a careful review of the 2022 National Budget.
However, claims made by the pair about allotment made to the Office of the First Lady is incorrect since there is no budget line assigned to Madam Weah in the instrument. We also conclude that based on a review of all the allocations to various institutions in the approved 2020 budget, the Legislature or Ministry of State for Presidential are not the biggest beneficiary of the budget as claimed by Ms. Yeakula. The Ministery of Finance and Development planning carries the highest allocation — $152,394,114 which is 19.3%.
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