An Informal Economy Budget Analysis in Greater Monrovia
An informal economy budget analysis (IEBA) examines how government budgets address the needs and interests of different groups of informal workers. In the case of Greater Monrovia, data was available for three groups: street vendors, market vendors and waste pickers. An IEBA also explores what opportunities exist for informal workers or their representatives to participate at different stages of the budget process.
Pioneered by the women’s movement, interrogation of resource allocation within government budgets has proved to be a powerful policy analysis and advocacy tool. WIEGO has also produced similar IEBAs for the following cities: Accra, Belo Horizonte, Durban, Lahore, Lima and Quezon City.
This Budget Brief summarises research and consultations with informal worker associations, local and national government agencies supported this year under the Cities Alliance Liberia Country Programme. Given the high degree of ODA flows to Liberia, the report also included an analysis of donor contributions in supporting the informal economy – a first for an IEBA. Despite the majority of workers in Liberia ‘s urban centres being classified as informal, the budget analysis reveals few, if any, allocations that explicitly address the needs of informal workers.
Meanwhile, informal workers in all three occupational groups discussed are required to make specific contributions to government revenue. Informal workers and their organizations perform these tax collection services for the government for free. In addition, the large share of the government budget allocated to goods and services could include opportunities for informal workers – market traders in particular – to provide some of these services. This will only be possible if the market traders can provide reliably at the required scale, and if there are no prohibitory registration requirements for entering into a procurement contracts with government. Consultation of informal workers and their representatives needs to be further institutionalised to increase the likelihood that public budget allocations meet their needs.