By Lewis S. Teh
Liberia’s former Chief of Protocol, now Executive Director of the People Action Network (PAN), Amb. Rufus Neufville has written to House Speaker Bhofal Chambers suggesting the need to reduce lawmakers’ allowances and transfer the proceeds toward the wellbeing of civil servants and the improvement of the University of Liberia.
Speaking Tuesday, 26 October 2021, Neufville, a former Montserrado County District #8 Representative said his suggestion was to draw the attention of the government surrounding the difficulty being faced by civil servants and the deplorable conditions at the University of Liberia.
Copy of the former lawmaker’s communication which was dispatched to House Speaker Chambers on 22 October 2021 is in the possession of this paper.
“We are delighted by your decision to sign a certificate to reconvene for the primary reason of deliberating on the 2022 National Budget pursuant to Article 32 (b) of the Liberian Constitution,” he said.
According to him, the communication is intended to elevate the interest of civil servants and the University of Liberia as the government makes an appropriation for the fiscal governance of the country.
“We believe the increment in the budget has created a window of opportunity [to] institute [an] upward adjustment in the salary of civil servants and also to upgrade the University of Liberia,” said Neufville.
At the same time, Amb. Neufville has offered suggestions which according to him will help identify additional funding to augment what is projected for various priorities.
He called on the government to avoid the temptation of allocating another undeserved $30,000.00 US for each lawmaker, rather than recommending the reduction of allowances and benefits given to them by 15% to help address some areas of concern.
Neufville also recommends the reduction of allowances and benefits given to the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia, and to also cut off foreign travel expenses by 50% with the exception of the President and the Foreign Minister.
“We also want every entertainment line in the budget to be sliced by 50% and amend Section 204, Section 1 (A & B) of the Revenue Code of 2000, and to further cut any allocation for procurement of new vehicles by 75%,” he continued.
The university has been facing challenges that have led to student and faculty protests. Following a series of negotiations mediated by the Government of Liberia, the disagreement at the university was resolved with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by the Government, UL Faculty, and UL Administration early this month.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/lawmakers-in-double-dipping/–Edited by Winston W. Parley