MONROVIA-As the dust settle to end the first term of President George M. Weah, the Liberian Leader did not give a blind eye to improving the economic conditions of Civil Servants in the Country.
President Weah in his State of the Nation Address, on Monday, January 30, 2023, bemoaned the ugly situation and noted that the cost of living for ordinary Liberians should remain a top priority of his leadership.
He challenged Members of the Legislature to consider salary increments as a competing concern.
It appears that the ghost of poverty has been removed from the doorsteps of Civil Servants in the country, especially those who have been living below the Minimum Wage Bill.
The Minimum Wage Bill calls for handsome incentives where no Liberian should earn below the threshold of one hundred and fifty United States Dollars, ($ US 150, 000)
The Liberian Leader indicated that his office was duly informed that there were at least fifteen thousand (15,000) Liberians who were earning below $ US 150, 000.
“It is unacceptable and Members of the 54th Legislature kindly make this a top priority to lift Liberians from the quicksand of poverty, President Weah averred.”
He assured gradual increment as domestic revenue improves and enhancing the welfare of Government Workers remains a major focus.
“This is completely unacceptable. No Government worker should make below the Minimum Wage mandated by Public Law. I have therefore directed that, as part of the 2023 Budget, the wages for all such workers be raised at or above the Minimum Wage. I am informed that the cost to achieving this is estimated at $6 Million US Dollars annually”.
“As we accelerate the discussion for the 2023 National Budget, I urge you to make the securing of this amount of $6 Million US Dollars for these 15,000 workers one of your highest priorities. I look forward to engaging you further on this,”.
“As you are aware, for at least the last fifty (50) years, Liberia’s fiscal year has run from July 1st to June 30th. Liberia was the only country in the ECOWAS sub-region to have this July-June fiscal year, which was inconsistent with the rest of the countries in the region.
“I am now pleased to announce that, after successful adjustment in 2021, the year 2022 marked the first full implementation of the Calendar Year Budget in our Nation’s History, making it now aligned with the rest of the ECOWAS sub-region. This has made reporting and regional comparison between Liberia and ECOWAS countries much easier”.
According to Mr. Weah, the 2023 National Budget of $777.9 Million US Dollars has been submitted to the House of Representatives for review, which is consistent with the total resource forecast for the period.
The estimated Domestic Revenue is $667.9 Million US Dollars, or 85.9% percent, while external resources are projected at $110 Million US Dollars or 14.1% percent”.
“Consistent with the government’s commitment to supporting public investment projects, President Weah said his government has increased capital expenditures in the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2023 to $154 million US dollars, up from $143 million US Dollars in the last fiscal year.
“Public investment is focused on key infrastructure investments, such as roads and bridges, and the CLSG transmission line. Other programs include the upcoming General and Presidential Elections, election-related” security, county tour implementation, the compulsory primary education policy, the At-risk Youth Empowerment Fund, and support to vulnerable small businesses,” he stressed.