The omission of the Legislature’s amendments before the budget’s passage has raised many questions. Some lawmakers questioned the rationale behind the decision to rescind the functions of the Legislative Budget Office, while others questioned the legality of this move given that the LBO’s functions are guided by law.

It can be recalled that the 55th Legislature passed the fiscal year 2024 National Budget at the end of April, amounting to US$738,859,827—an increase of 6.7 percent from the version submitted by the Executive through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. The Executive’s version, submitted in March, totaled US$692 million. However, after a thorough budget hearing and consultations with revenue-generating entities, the Joint Committee on Ways, Means and Finance and Public Accounts of both the House and Senate identified additional projected revenue of US$46,451,000.

The decision to pass the budget followed a recommendation from the Joint Committee, and President Joseph Boakai subsequently signed it into law, which has since been printed into a handbill. The President has returned a copy of the act approving the budget to the Legislature for their records.