SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – Delegates from across Nimba have concluded a meeting to decide the appropriations of development funds for the county, approving a US$3 million budget.
During the Nimba County Council Sitting, over 100 delegates approved the use of County and Social Development Funds that had been allocated to the county in the 2016/2017, 2017/2018, and 2018/2019 fiscal years.
The council is the highest decision-making body of the county, where stakeholders of the county converge to discuss appropriations of funds destined for the county. Meetings for the previous three years never took place after a string of delays. The August 31 – September 2 meeting is the first under Superintendent Dorr Cooper’s administration.
At the sitting, Cooper presented an expense budget which aimed to settle liabilities incurred in past fiscal years. According to Cooper, his administration expects to receive US$279,000 from the government as County Development Fund, although he said that amount is yet to be verified (The 2018/2019 fiscal year budget actually allocates US$207,666 to Nimba as County Development Fund).
He said other contributions included the ArcelorMittal Social Development Funds (US$980,000), proceeds from the past sale of scrap metal to North Star (US$186,000), expected proceeds from further sale of scrap to North Star and Sethi Ferro Fabric Inc. (US$1.0 million), and an upfront payment for scrap proceeds from Sethi (US$510,000).
The concentrated areas of the approved Nimba County budget for fiscal year 2018/2019 are, contributions/institutional supports, amounting to US$ 845,000] and Capital Expenditure, totaling US$ 1,495,215.
About half of the total budget went to capital expenditures, with US$450,000 appropriated for infrastructure development within the nine electoral districts of Nimba, US$804,215 allotted for road rehabilitation across the county, and US$236,000 reserved for work in communities affected by ArcelorMittal’s mining operations in the county.
The county made several allocations towards education, including US$90,000 for scholarships for students from Nimba studying in colleges and universities across the country, US$50,000 for Staff development at the Nimba County Community College, US$30,000 to the Liberia International Christian College, and US$25,000 to the African Bible College.
The Nimba County Health Team is also expected to receive US$30,000 to procure essential drugs for 10 health facilities in the county while delegates voted to provide US$10,000 each to the Ganta United Methodist Hospital and the Zoe-Geh Medical Center.
Local governments also received some funding from the budget – Nimba’s six cities will each get US$5,000. Moreover, US$40,000 will go to the construction of a head office for Nimba’s chiefs and traditional leaders in Sanniquellie.
Delegates also made sure to put aside US$75,000 for preparations for the annual National County Sports Meet.
Special interest groups such as the Nimba County Community Radio Association and people living with disabilities will receive US$30,000 and US$45,000, respectively.
The county paid US$15,000 in an out-of-court settlement with the former treasurer of the Project Management Committee, Eddie Tenwah, who was dismissed in 2015 by the Nimba County Administration.
The county council appropriated US$215,000 toward the operations of the Project Management Committee, which is responsible for tracking the various projects. The committee is headed by Peterson Walker and will be supervised by the assistant superintendent for development.
Only US$5,000 will be retained as the reserve in the county’s bank account.
Senator Thomas Grupee described the process as “very successful.” “We cannot have everything at 100 percent,” he said. “I think this was a very successful council sitting,”
Featured photo by Arrington Ballah