Three Senators have sent a communication to the plenary of the Senate recommending 25 percent pay cut for officials of government.
The communication, dated February 14 and signed by Senators Morris G. Saytumah, Armah Zolu Jallah and Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, has recommended that the Ways, Means and Finance Committee of the Senate and the Ministry of Finance immediately start an extensive and comprehensive review of expenditure.
The objective, accordingly, is to streamline government’s spending to meet important national development targets.
Those to be targeted for the reduction in benefits, according to the communication, are the President, Vice President, Speaker, President Pro-tempore, Chief Justice, Associate Justices, Legislators, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Assistant Ministers, heads of Public Corporations, Directors and Commissioners.
Benefits to be affected will include a reduction in the supply of gas slips, scratch cards, and travel allowances. “We must also commission a study to cut unnecessary expenditures within the government, “the letter said.
The three Senators also recommended that: “There should be no purchase of vehicles for any official of government or any government institution except the security sector and the National Elections Commission (NEC), until the new government is ushered in 2018.”
It is spelt out in the recommendation that consideration will be given for unforeseen circumstances such as accidents and emergency situations with reasonable justification.
The letter has meanwhile requested the Senate plenary to set up a team to meet with heads of the business community, both Liberian and foreign-owned, to discuss the challenges and proffer recommendations to improve the economy.
“This will give the Senate insight for guidance in decision making in the interest of economic stability,” the Senators continued.
In their seven-point recommendation, the lawmakers request that all inactive government agencies be dissolved to save money for needed institutions.
“That the Ministry of Finance derives a formula for all public corporations to provide additional support at the end of their calendar year from excess liquidity; that the Ministry of Commerce work with the business community to ensure that banking with Liberian banking institutions for both Liberian and United States dollars becomes a requirement.”
In the communication, the Senators expressed the hope that, “these recommendations be given serious consideration, as the country’s economy is at the verge of collapse, and our discussion can make a big difference in the supreme interest of our country.”
It can be recalled that two months ago, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and a team of cabinet ministers visited the legislature to acquaint legislators with the declining state of the economy.
Following that meeting, there have been several issues affecting the operations of businesses and the livelihood of the citizenry.
Clothed with the responsibility to oversee the activities of the economy, including their constitutional mandate to make appropriation and review expenditure for every institution that benefits from the National Budget, the Grand Bassa, Bomi and Gbarpolu counties’ lawmakers noted that their decision was necessitated based on work done by their experts who believe that the recommendations, if implemented, will go a long way in alleviating the economic crunch.
Pro Temp Jallah has meanwhile ordered that all Senators be furnished with a copy the letter for possible debate soon.