UP Caucus Warns Gov’t Against Civil Servants’ Salary Cut

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(Right) The Acting Chairman of the Unity Party Legislative Caucus, Hanson Kiazolu; (left) Acting Co-chairman Richard Koon

— 2019/2020 Budget to be Submitted Today

The Acting Chairman of the Unity Party Legislative Caucus in the House of Representatives has warned the CDC-led government against plans to cut civil servants’ salaries in the 2019/2020 national budget, as part of the austerity measures, arguing that it would set a very bad precedence that might lead to civil unrest of the over 65,000 civil servants.

Montserrado County District #17 Representative, Hanson Kiazolu, said the consideration of the ruling party to cut civil servants’ salaries will be resisted by the UP Caucus and, if the cut is passed, it will be restored.

The Montserrado County lawmaker said the issues of ‘fixing’ the economy by slicing civil servants’ salaries are not only a very bad precedence but will not work in the interest of the country because purchasing power will drastically reduce and work habits will be compromised.

Rep. Kiazolu, the Acting Chairman of the House’s Bank and Currency Committee and a former Comptroller General of the Republic of Liberia, said that the CDC-led government can pay civil servants’ salaries with the collections of domestic revenues, arguing that the former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf did not use donor money to pay civil servants but from domestic revenues.

According to him, at least US$500 million are collected annually from domestic revenue, which can settle civil servants’ salaries to avoid resistance to the added hardship amid the bad economy.

“I am cautioning government to not cut civil servants’ salaries because it will bring about disturbance because the economy is already bad and, if we do not direct investment coming in to boost the domestic revenue, we will have perennial of issues and problems and we don’t want those kinds of issues. Therefore, what has been collected, let civil servants be paid from what was collected; government has sliced salaries before and should not go in that direction again,” Rep. Kiazolu said.

“If this government blotted the payrolls, they did it on their own risks, so they should not cut civil servants salaries.”

The Acting UP Caucus chairman urged the CDC-led government to use other austerity measures, strengthen its stance against corruption and leave the civil servants salaries.

He also urged the ruling party to draft a realistic 2019/2020 budget basedon domestic revenues and warned them against donors or international contribution to draft the budget. He ow say there will be hardship if external support are not included in the country’s budget.

“We are in favor of a realistic budget, the Liberia Revenue Authority should give us a realistic revenue projection. We should depend our growth on external sources; it should be determined on our revenue projection and, based on that, our growth will gradually come about. We call against budget malfeasances.”

He added: “The Ministry of Finance should look on other lines to streamline the budget to leave the civil servants’ salaries alone.”

“But if there will be no external sources, there will be hardship…hardship will ensue and they have to bear it.”

He however revealed that the CDC led government is negotiating with Montserrado, Margibi and Bong Counties to remit half of the US$4 million China Union Social Development Money into the 2019/2020 budget.

He said Montserrado County has agreed for US$500,000 to be remitted and called on other counties to do the same to support the budget amid the budget constraints and bad economy.

It may be recalled that, besides the UP Caucus, the Independent Legislative Caucus (ILC) has also vowed to robustly and vigorously expose whosoever will be involved in manipulations and deceptions in the 2019/2020 Budget and urged the CDC led government to submit a realistic budget.

The ILC comprises 14 like-minded members of the House of Representatives.

Furthermore, the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has also called on the CDC led government to use a structural reform in the way the national budget is developed and formulated.

IREDD argued that the current state of the national budget only entrenches poverty, undermines development and is counterproductive to the attainment of the very Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) of the Weah Administration.

Meanwhile, in a communication to the House of Representatives, on April 23, 2019, President George M. Weah, requested an extension of the deadline for the submission of the 2019/2020 budget from April 30, 2019 to June 15, 2019.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Corruption will increase times three if salary is decrease. People will day clearly that they are corrupt because of the decrease in salary and nothing will be done about it.. It is the law makers and executive that should decrease not the civil servants. Or there should be no decrease but increase. If you don’t want Liberia to leave from badly corrupt to most corrupt in Africa and the world please do not decrease salary. If weah Gov. Don’t know what else to do to better the country let him leave or we wait for his 6yrs to finish to put some else there. This a mistake that cannot be corrected now. It is late.

  2. Is this what weah had for our people when he sought the presidency of Liberia? He was elected to lower the living standards of our people?

  3. I am not surprised that Acting Chairman of the Unity Party Legislative Caucus in the House of Representatives and former Comptroller & Accounting General of Liberia, Rep. Kaizolu would speak the way he’s speaking. He’s not speaking as a technician but rather a politician. Perhaps, what he’s missing is the understanding of salaries harmonization and salaries cut, this government is not cutting salaries but harmonizing salaries. For instance, a Director for Ministry A makes 100, while a Director of Ministry B makes 25, government is now seeking to harmonize such disparities in the salaries of its employees, so Rep. Kaizolu needs to see this as more of a technical working than political.
    More besides, what Rep. Kaizolu failed to talk about is to mention their own salaries reduction as lawmakers in helping to reduce government wage bill as recommended by IMF, our President has also appealed to them to see reason to reduce the huge incentives they receive as allowances, let his advocacy go beyond talking for the people and represent the government too. It has been acknowledged by IMF that the current economy condition can not be attributed to the Weah’s administration. So, Rep. Kaizolu please stop talking politics and speak technical, we can also read between the lines.

    • Weah was Senator for over 2yrs what did he do to cut his salary or even speak on these issues. Is the Liberia then different from now. NO. It is the same Liberia. No salary cut. Let’s try to increase salary as per the living condition instead of reducing it. The man did nothing nor speak on problem before trying to fix then. It is unfortunate that he was elected base on his football popularity since Liberians love him because of football. Actually, to be honest weah have no idea on what to do about bettering Liberia, let him pray for his 6yra to finish quickly to leave the political field. It is not football field. It require thinking and making or speaking and implementating policy that will help change lives of people. Salary cut os not the way forward. Please if you are close to my president give him different advice then salary cut. He was there he did not advocate to cut his salary as Senator, what make us think these senator will ever try to cut their own. This is why 99% of those in leadership now in Liberia are there for. No education nor experience nor common thinking on what to do to make a change in their district or county like weah when he was senator. So how can they do it now? They are all there for big salary. 99% of them so we are wasting our time on this salary thing.

  4. If it is true that Liberia, the world’s 4th poorest country pays it lawmakers $120,000 per year, a pay cut in salaries is compulsory. For sure, “some money, although not a whole lot” will definitely be saved. But in order for the cuts to be done without too much pain and sorrow, a three-year partial cut strategy will be the best approach.

    Let’s take a look at the numbers:
    A lawmaker in Liberia earns $120,000 per annum. According to my three-year partial salary cut strategy, let’s do this:

    Year One, .. 10% salary cut.
    Year two. …10% salary cut and
    Year three…10% salary cut.

    Year one…$120,000 × .10 = $12,000.
    So, $120,000 – $12,000 = $108 000. The first year, instead of being paid $120,000, a lawmaker will now earn $108 000. Fair enough?

    $12,000 x 60 lawmakers equals $720,000. This means $720 000 could be saved by the government of Liberia in year one.

    (I didn’t bother to compute figures for the second and final Years.)

    I will suggest that lower-level employees such as janitors, teachers, office workers, drivers, etc. should be spared the boot! To put the same thing another way, salary cuts should apply to middle and upper-level employees. For instance, cabinet ministers and their deputies and assistants, the high class members of the Judiciary and of course, the president’s yearly salary shouldn’t be spared a 10% cut during the first year.

    Rep Kiazolu argues against a pay cut without carefully analyzing the issues. The Representative is right to argue, but he’s dead wrong to insist that a pay cut will affect a lot of people. The issue here is that the country is financially strapped. Something must be done. Because if Weah does nothing to put money in the coffers of the government, Kiazolu will not be paid next time. The reality is there isn’t enough money to go around. Simple as that. Also, if the Weah government does nothing to save some money, his enemies will accuse him of being inept.

    (Reality. By recommending a ten per cent pay cut in Weah’s salary, I know my critics will love me today. What my critics and haters don’t know about me is this: my full name and that I am a down to earth fair-minded guy.)

    • Hey comrade Hney, fine analysis, but it is actually 73 lawmakers, so instead of 720,000 USD it would be 876, 000 USD. That’s a good strategy to employ.

    • You couldn’t have said this better. Lawmakers in Liberia get paid too much money. If the government is really serious, the cuts must start at the Capitol.Our lawmakers are regarded as super beings for being paid so high in such a rich but poorly managed country. Quite frankly, the lawmakers should get 50% cut across the board. A lawmaker should be able to survive on $5000 a month minimum. Most Liberians own houses. There are not too many bills to pay in the country. The amount left for developments in the country is way too small after salaries are paid. Why then do you we have a country? Just to pay lawmakers and executives? Because of the revenue crisis, some counties are taking the hits – their development funds not forth coming on time.

      As we speak, the government is borrowing from already cash-strapped counties. Remittances from Mittal Steel and other development funds for Nimba County have not been turned over months if not years. The government owes the county $5m USDs – (five million US Dollars). Social development plans have been on hold in this huge, populated and rich county for months, if not couple of years. So, why can’t the counties receive and manage their own funds? Each county has scores of financial experts. The people of these counties are affected when this kinda thing happens. They are unable to help their citizens.

      This is where I always refer to the lawmakers. Why aren’t our representatives pushing for the implementation of the political and economic decentralization? We need to collect and manage our own money, elect all our officials including Superintendents and city mayors. Further, the government needs to look for new sources of revenue and leave the small change going to these counties alone mehn. Chey!!

  5. Thanks very much comrade ..H. D. Johnson. At least you didn’t charge me for the error. A guy named Moses threatens me every time I commit a blunder.

  6. The president has got to cut salaries to sustain basic social programs for the masses of the people until the economy is strong enough. Other governments within the continent of Africa are meeting the needs of the masses with far less revenue intake. Why such high salaries for these none productive position? Let the adjustment of salaries fly for now and help save the state from total collapse.

  7. Haha, Brother Hney, you are indeed a man of Mystery, but at the same time a very astute individual. maybe your forthright analysis will make your critics to hate you more. But jokes aside, the legislature makes too much money for doing practically nothing and I am sure it will be a big wahala if their salaries were to be tempered with. but, as they say, this too, is Liberia. Again, we await to see how the drama will unfold.

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