The proposed reduction of salary by President George Weah continues to draw divergent opinions, from across government circles.
On Monday a lawmaker from Nimba said the President should first ensure that salaries of his ministers and managing directors from state agencies are on par and that they should all ride the same grade of vehicles before embarking on his salary cut campaign.
“And I think the Executive needs to look into that direction instead of talking about his personal salary. He should get to his cabinet because under the law, Article 56, these are people that work at the will and pleasure of the president,” Rep. Samuel Kogar said Monday, 26 February on a local radio talk show.
President Weah in his nation address last month announced a 25% cut in his salary and benefits and urged law makers and other officials of government to follow his lead.
But the Nimba District #5 Rep. Samuel Kogar insists that the salary structures of all the line ministries and agencies here should be looked at first to determine what managing directors, ministers, and deputy ministers earn before coming up with a conclusion that will address just the situation.
“Now the issue of salary deduction, that’s what I said we going to do it on a holistic basis. We got to first of all dissect the process to know each of those line ministries and agencies’ salaries,” he says.
Besides, Rep. Kogar suggests that there is a Decent Wage Board at the Ministry of Labor that is clothed with the authority to make proposition based on prevailing situation in the country.
He said when all these factors are considered and then they can sit down and carve a law, after which they can inform the requisite authority that there should be [certain salary or benefit] for ministers, assistant minister, deputy minister, and superintendent.
He claims that lawmakers are not refusing to reduce salaries, but they want officials of the same ranking to be on par in terms of salaries, benefits and the vehicles they use.
He said with the current situation where for an example the Mayor of Monrovia, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Defense may be riding high class vehicles than the Minister of Information or Labor, while some lawmakers allegedly ride pickups.
“So we are going to be holistic in the process. If we’re carving a law, that law will tie everybody down into that law including ourselves,” he added.
He, however, insists that even if reduction is carried out, lawmakers will still ride luxurious vehicles because if for instance a lawmaker dies, it costs more than 100 or 200 persons’ salaries on a yearly basis to conduct by-election to replace that representative.
“And besides that, the leader that you made for example, if death occurs, it’s very costly. Even it worth more than 15 or even 100 or 200 persons’ salaries on a yearly basis to conduct by-election for one representative …, that’s the person you’re talking about,” Rep. Kogar notes.
He concludes that if something happens in the constituency, the lawmaker is not expected to ride a car that will breakdown on the road when there is serious issue and people are looking up to the lawmaker for decision.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah