BWI Principal Condemns Decline in Budgetary Support; Wants Gov’t Prioritize Education

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By: Abraham Kollie (Correspondent)

The Principal and Executive Officer of the Booker T. Washington Institute, Atty. Harris Fomba Tarnue, says the continued decline in budgetary support to the institution is troubling.

Atty. Harris Fomba Tarnue

Principal Tarnue making a statement at the Institute’s 91st founder’s day celebration recently,   said before BWI used to received funding around an annual budgetary allocation of USD 6M.

He noted that when he took over as head of the institute of in 2016, BWI was a direct beneficiary of grant on a monthly basis for reimbursement and operations hovering USD 3.5M.

He said in the current national fiscal administration, the government has “removed the grant status and placed all compensation at central administration with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Civil Service Agency.”

The BWI Principal noted that government’s operational (Goods and Services) allocations have continued to decline referencing fiscal years 2017/2018, 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 respectively.

The Principal explained that in fiscal year 2017/2018, the amount of $1,161,441.00USD was placed in the national budget for BWI but the institution actualized $619,450.00USD  while in fiscal year 2018/2019 the amount of $881, 986.00USD was budgeted for BWI and $325,459.00USD  was actualized.

Going forward, the Principal said in fiscal year 2019/2020, the institution had in the national budget $786,512.00USD and $56,622.00USD is being actualized.

Speaking futher, Principal Tarnue discovered that the institution under its self-financing or internal revenue performance approved budget for fiscal year 2017/2018 was $459, 729USD and the institution actualized 574,156.00USD while in fiscal year 2018/2019 the institution budgeted $576,600.00USD and the amount of $585,582.00USD was generated.

He furthered that in fiscal year 2019/2020 BWI approved budget was $469,760.00USD and up to May 2020 the institution generated $469,407.00USD.

He said as seen from the above government funding performance increasingly over a three years period, much is wanting thereby leading to low clients/customers plus low access to TVET.

Atty. Tarnue maintained that there is a need to establish a Research and Development Unit to engage into conducting studies and proffering solutions to problems in various organizations in Liberia where BWI and along with stakeholders like the Ministry of Transport and Motor Bikes Operators Union conduct nation-wide motorbikes maintenance, servicing, safety and licensing improvement for making motorbike operation a vibrant national economic activity.

He also recommended that BWI partners with the Ministries of Public Works and Transport to certify operators of heavy equipment prior to their licensing using the BWI Japan Heavy Equipment Operator School for such agreement, the expansion of BWI’s campus clinic facility to upgrade it to include an OPD for the larger Kakata Community and its environs especially attending to children, women and the elderly.

At the same time, the Principal indicated that the project has come a long way with over US$25,000 already invested by the administration and over US$30,000 already invested by the BWINAANA with just another US$15,000 needed to enable BWI to produce different varieties of vegetables all year round.

Atty. Tarnue: “What will be the drivers of this economic model for self-financing of BWI look like, one may ask? Well, we already know that BWI’s major source of income or financing has continued to be the government’s budget”.

He meanwhile appreciated their international development partners for their support to TVET including the European Union UN Agencies, U.S. Embassy as well as the founding fathers of BWI and their predecessors.

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