‘Cut Lawmakers Salaries and Divert to Education and Health’

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Dr. Kimmie L. Weeks said that with the level of hardship facing Liberians, it is inhumane that the National Legislature alone was consuming millions of dollars annually simply in compensation for Legislators and their staff.

-Dr. Kimmie L. Weeks

Internationally acclaimed Liberian activist and humanitarian Dr. Kimmie Weeks has called on members of the National Legislature to immediately begin a process to slash their compensation packages by at least 50% and divert the savings to supporting investments in education, health care, and the creation of jobs for young people.   Dr. Weeks made the statement when he appeared on various radio talk shows last week to discuss his recent departure from corporate Liberia to focus his full attention on addressing national issues.

Weeks highlighted that a growing number of Liberian families are facing hardships.  “It does not take a rocket scientist to know that there are significantly more Liberians facing extreme circumstances.  There are more Liberians who are going to bed hungry daily, more clinics and hospitals that lack necessities, and more young people who are unable to pay their tuition,” Weeks pointed out.  Weeks said that with the level of hardship facing Liberians, it is inhumane that the National Legislature alone was consuming millions of dollars annually simply in compensation for Legislators and their staff.   “Imagine the massive impact that would take place in our education and health care sector if our lawmakers passed adjustments in the law to divert millions of dollars from paying themselves to investing in education and health care.”

Kimmie Weeks who was known for strong stance on national issues prior to entering corporate Liberia went on to call for lawmakers to begin to take measures to cut their salaries by a minimum of 50% and divert the savings into the education and health sectors.  Weeks said: “We are at a juncture in Liberia when many families are going to bed hungry, hospitals lack basic necessities, and many young people are out of school because they cannot afford to pay tuition. It is unthinkable that with these circumstances our lawmakers are allegedly making upwards of US$17,000.    We call on them to begin the conversation to cut their salaries by a minimum of 50% and direct that back into the budget not for paying other salaries but to invest in education, health care and the creation of job opportunities.”

Weeks concluded that Senators and Representatives needed to set an example of being transparent by releasing information about the value of their compensation packages and lead the way for austerity measures by taking steps to cut all excesses and waste at the National Legislature

9 COMMENTS

  1. Great call. I have said this repeatedly that Liberia is too broke and poor to pay our Legislators about $1,841,000 every month. I have never seen another shithole country where 73 Representatives make about $1,241,000 a month at the rate of $17,000 a month for a Rep, and $20,000 for each of the 30 Senators a month which is about $600,000 a month. Liberians should demand that Reps are paid $2500 a month and Senators paid $3500 a month with no cars, scratch cards, gas or living allowances. Trust me, most of the semi-illiterate fools in the house would get a second job and really work. If we do this, we would be paying those buffons only $287,500 a month, thereby saving about $1,553,500 a month in salaries from those buffons. That money can go towards building a new Poly-Clinic, a K-12 High School and increasing the pay for teachers and Nurses. Ghana, that’s richer than Liberia pay their MP’s $3500 a month.

  2. Like Chris Luke, I have commented extensively on the issue of salaries that are paid out to Liberia’s lawmakers. Goodness! Seventeen to $20,000 is way too high to be paid to the world’s fourth poorest lawmaker per month.

    Probably, the Ministers of various Departments earn similar salaries. In any case, something has got to be done. The sad news is that in addition to the huge salaries that they earn, the lawmakers get lucrative perks. For instance, the lawmakers get free gas, free air time, etc.

    It’s got to stop.

  3. “Ghana that’s richer than Liberia pay their MP’s US $3,500 a month”, and why EJS approved gifting bonanza compensations to ours still beggars belief. But shouting about it on rabble-rousing media platforms – apparently to shame them – won’t get the authorizing statue amended. This means the same legislators should be lobbied, and abusing them, definitely, is a nonstarter.

  4. Brother Mo,
    Another thing that boggles the mind is that Liberian lawmakers began earning fat checks during EJS’s 12-year term. While they earned fat checks, some public schools did not have xerox machines, grade and attendance books for teachers, flushable toilets or electricity at most or all of the schools. The point that I am trying to make is that if it’s good the goose, it’s got to be good for the gander! In the simplest of terms, if it’s okay for lawmakers to get fat checks and grow their guts, it ought to be okay for a meaningful investment to be made in the area of education equally.

    Poor Weah has more than critics. He’s got a troll of unreasonable haters who will not give a dime of credit. When he got sworn in, Weah proposed a pay cut in the ranks of lawmakers and others across the board. All of a sudden, that proposal of his suffocated to death. Unless he wants to become a potentate, Weah cannot crack the heads of lawmakers to jam a pay cut across the board. For him, that would be suicidal!

    President Obama once told a gathering of “Central and South American pressure groups” that he couldn’t change the laws of immigration and deportation all by himself. But Obama also said “lobbying the lawmakers of America” was the best route. I said that because I know that Liberian lawmakers….all of them…., will not bulge if a few people hound them. But, if the Liberian voters yell by saying “my people, let vote them out O”, maybe something will happen. Just maybe.

    At least $4,000 bucks per month for the Liberian lawmakers of both Houses will not be bad.

  5. It’s a very good call! I wonder why Mr. Weeks didn’t seek to proffer such during the government under which he served. Perhaps, that could’ve given it more attention, considering his position and relationship at the time with President Sirleaf.

  6. Everything is/was broken in Liberia.

    Nothing will ever work if the most educated are left out of the development process of the country. Being educated makes most people have reasonable views to most issues.

    In fact, if you suggest to each lawmaker that they should make $60,000.00+/month, most will agree?

    Maybe referendums could be the solutions to solving some of these issues; which I will promote. Everybody MUST follow the LAW; you can not cut anyone income without the LAW?

    We heard similar calls during Tolbert’s administration up to 1980?. At that time people were not happy about Tolbert giving $800.00 to some of his employees; it was too high as they said? Some of those very people are receiving the sums you are now talking about?

    With Education most Evil goes away; it is a light (like Jesus) when shined in the dark the evils runs away? That is why the churches came to Liberia with the Bible, Education, Hospital, etc.

    Are Liberian educated but functionally illiterate or most a just NOT educated?

    God bless Liberia

  7. Hello brother Curran,
    Are you considering another run for the presidency in Liberia? Gosh! You sound like a gentleman who wants to throw a hat in the ring. Look man, I will keep a watchful eye on you. And look, I wish you well. Okay?

  8. You are right Dr. Weeks, however, has it is, the roll back in pay and benefits must be initiated by the same legislature. And by the statesmen and women among the current legislators… Or set up a national commission(of fifteen members, each from every county(15)) to handle that responsibility based on certain indexes nationally and regionally. And follow the President’s example of leadership from the Legislative Branch…It is Nation Time! Thank you

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