— Says Rep. J. Fonati Koffa
In the event of the harmonization of wages of all government employees through the application of a standard pay and grade structure, as well as to eliminate discretionary allowance system, and collapse of all payment and allowances into a single pay or to reduce the wage bill, Grand Kru County District #2 Representative has said he favored salary cut in the House of Representatives and would absolutely vote for its approval.
The House’s Judiciary Chairman Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa told the Daily Observer exclusively on Monday, August 26, 2019 that he used portion of his salary on district employees, including variety of projects across his district; he said US$2,500 is what he is willing to vote for a salary for a lawmaker.
“I considerably believe that US$2,500 will be sufficient and I will be willing to vote for a salary cut of US$2,500 for a lawmaker,” Rep. Koffa said.
“This is no disrespect to any of my colleagues; it is just an honorable opinion that I agree to and a legislative salary cut, and I would vote for at most US$2,500,” he said.
A member of the House of Representative is reported to be making about US$15,000, while a senator makes probably over US$16,000. This means a US$2,500 salary will be a whopping 84 percent reduction, which will inevitably bring relief to the economy.
The Grand Kru County lawmaker argued that the size of the wage bill is not commensurate with the available budget and GoL’s overall expenditure priorities, because of the bad economy and therefore supports the fiscal discipline.
However, Rep. Koffa has revealed that he is constructing three schools in his district, the Taybu Public School, a school in memory of his grandfather, and the Chengbetee Public Schools, which are among 40 projects totaling over US$784,000.
It can be reported that Rep. Koffa has said there is a need to critically look at the national security and political stabilization issues when effecting salary reduction as being done through the government’s salary harmonization scheme.
He argued that while the Ministry of Finance is bragging of increasing the salary of 14,000 persons through the salary harmonization process, it has failed to also disclose to the public that 10,000 civil servants are also experiencing massive salary deduction.
According to Cllr. Koffa, instead of cutting salaries, he expects the government to rather cut taxes and improve the purchasing power of Liberians as a means of dealing with the recession faced by the country instead of increasing the hardship of Liberians.
He said there is a need for government to reduce discretionary spending and engage in more challenging investments like agriculture to support the budget rather than depending on aid coming from donors.