Pres. Weah Urged To Reduce Allowances Of Officials
A media advocacy group, Media Alliance for Democratic Governance (MADE) is admonishing President George Weah to demonstrate his honest intention of instituting an austerity measure by publicly ordering the reduction in huge special allowances assigned to appointed government officials by the former Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf led government.
It can be recalled that a forth night ago during his first State of the Nation Address, President Weah publicly announced a reduction in his salary and other benefits by 25 percent in a bid to address critical financial matters in state governance having inherit a broken economy.
But the media group observed that the President’s desire to raise money through his lone salary reduction to run government functionaries will be a wasted effort if huge special allowances ranging from US$3,200 to 8,500 continue to be paid officials serving at the level of Assistant Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Minister Proper.
The National Coordinator of MADE, Joseph Charlie pointed out that although President Weah has pleaded with members of the Legislature to also voluntarily reduce their special allowances and other benefits, members of that august body could be obliged to do so if the President set an example on his appointed officials.
Mr. Charlie stressed that now is the appropriate time to effect such reduction since most of the new government officials are going through confirmation hearings and have not had the opportunity to benefit from such huge money to expand their responsibilities.
Meanwhile, the media advocacy group is at the same urging President Weah to quickly intervene and dissolve the discretional general allowance payment scheme for civil servants left in place by the former Unity Party led government.
Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the time ordered that heads of government functionaries should use their discretion to assign general allowances to civil servants. However, there is a huge disparity in payment among Directors and heads of other divisions, with some Directors at other government functionaries like the Ministry of Finance assigned US$3000 while Directors at the Civil Service Agency are given US$2000.
In a related development, Directors serving at some ministries are assigned US$1000 while other Directors at the same ministry are given US$100 as general allowances.