The House of Representatives has rejected a controversial pension and benefit scheme passed by the Liberian Senate with lucrative lifetime benefits appropriated for retired lawmakers and their families.
The Act is cited as the Integrated Pension and Benefits of 2022.
It says a Speaker of the House of Representatives who retires honorably after serving a full term of six years or more shall receive from the Government a pension annuity equal to 50 percent of his or her last highest gross salary earned as Speaker per annum.
The condition set is that the retired speaker shall not in any way be gainfully employed by the government.
The honorably retired speaker is also entitled to personal staff and facilities for the remainder of his or her life.
The retiree is also entitled to police or other state security protection and other services around the clock.
If the retiree becomes gainfully re-employed by the government, the Act says the annuity shall be suspended until the new employment is terminated or retired.
Additionally, the Act says the surviving spouse of the deceased speaker or former speaker shall be entitled to 50 percent of the annuity of the speaker during the natural life of the spouse.
This annuity, the Act says, if applicable, shall commence as of the date of the death of the speaker or former speaker.
On the death of the spouse or if there is no spouse, the Act further says the annuity provided for the surviving spouse shall be paid in equal portion to each of the children of the deceased speaker or former speaker until they attain the age of 21.
Similar provisions are made for the Vice President and Deputy Speaker in the Act.
As for the members of the House of Representatives, the Act says retirees are entitled to 10 percent of the last highest salaries, paid in equal monthly installments.
According to the Act, an elected officer of the House of Representatives or the Liberian Senate who retires honorably after six years of service shall receive a pension annuity that equals 10 percent of his or her last highest gross salary as an officer of the Legislature.
It further says an elected officer of the House of Representatives or Liberian Senate who has served for 12 years and retires honorably shall receive a pension annuity that equals 30 percent of his or her last highest salary.
Moreover, the Act says an elected officer of the House or the Senate who serves three consecutive legislative terms and retires shall receive 50 percent of his or her last highest salary.
The condition set is that the retiree shall not be gainfully employed by the Government.
Representatives on Thursday, 8 September 2022 saw the act as a disservice to the Liberian people.
According to them, the Act is not in the interest of the Liberian people and they can not add more to what the Liberian people are going through.
Lofa County Electoral District #2 Representative Clarence Massaquoi made the motion that the Act be sent back to the Liberian Senate and that it be treated like it has never existed.
According to the Act, it will help address current gaps and shortcomings in existing pension laws for the categories of officials covered as well as make necessary and proper adjustments that holistically address those gaps and
The Liberian Senate passed and forwarded to the House of Representatives the Act Adopting an Integrated Pensions and Benefits Scheme for Certain Categories of Officials of the Government of the Republic of Liberia.
The Act was endorsed and passed by majority Senators through a vote after it was forwarded by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, headed by Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County.