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Commentary: A Pragmatic Approach Toward Liberia’s Government Spending Reduction

Balancing Necessity and Expenditure

By Austin S. Fallah – Concerned Liberian

The Republic of Liberia, with its rich culture and history, stands at a pivotal moment in its socio-economic development.

Despite strides towards financial stability and economic growth, the nation grapples with issues surrounding government expenditure.

This commentary urges President Boakai and Vice President Koung to streamline spending by reducing unnecessary costs such as fleets of cars, scratch cards, luxury fuel allowances, and an excess of administrative and special assistant positions, which burden the Liberian people’s resources.

Additionally, it calls for actions to tackle the recurring issue of ‘Ghost Workers’ on payrolls, a practice draining substantial funds meant for genuine civil servants.

The frequency with which government officials were seen with luxurious cars and extravagant fuel allowances did not only signals negligence but also underscores a blatant disregard for public funds, exacerbating economic hardships for the marginalized in Liberian society.

Liberia’s expenditure on government vehicles, gasoline, and maintenance costs alone accounted for a staggering 17% of its total budget in 2018, according to The Economist. Such disregard impedes socio-economic development and worsens inequalities.

Redirecting budget allocations to prioritize public transportation is crucial in a country where many struggle with congestion and expensive private transport.

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A robust public transport system is not solely about profit but serves the public good, addressing mobility issues and urban-rural divides, thereby increasing job accessibility and overall economic growth.

The issue of ‘Ghost Workers’ siphoning off substantial funds must be urgently addressed.

A World Bank report highlights how these ghost workers devastate Liberia’s public finance management.

Assigning accountability to supervisors for their staff members, by personally signing their payroll, would make it harder for ghost workers to embezzle salaries and increase overall accountability.

Fiscal prudence, accountability, and commitment to public welfare are indispensable for Liberia’s progress.

Reforming specific areas of government spending, eradicating ghost employees from the payroll, and encouraging public transportation as a public duty will foster mobility and reduce socio-economic disparities.

By making necessary adjustments in Liberia’s governmental expenditure, unnecessary spending can be curbed, and the public sector can thrive, benefiting the citizens as a whole.

This analysis proposes a more inclusive, responsible, and sustainable path for Liberia’s government.

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