The Weah administration is determined to impoverish Liberians, especially civil servants by its current “salary harmonization” policy that appears to have no end in sight. Up to now, there is no specific benchmark or ceiling in the ongoing salary reduction exercise that has left public employees here returning home with shrinking disposable income each month. This has constrained civil servants to put less bread on table for their families.
Delivering his Annual Message recently to the 54th Legislature in joint session at the Capitol, President George Manneh Weah vowed to continue to slash wages to in his words, “perfect the wage system.”
The President insists that reducing the public wage bill will make everyone in his government better off in the long run without saying how, given the country’s nose-dive economy hit by hyperinflation, three-digit exchange rate and sky-rocketing prices.
Even the ordinary man in the street knows that in such condition, this is not the prudent time to reduce wages when prices are inversely shooting up.
But this is the condition Liberians are forcibly being subjected to under the Weah administration. And the government believes such policy is in their best interest.
Time without number, experienced economists and financial experts have warned that no government had rescued itself out of recession by cutting salaries and increasing taxes. However, President Weah and his government want Liberians to listen to such illusion and live in utopia.
The government is deceptively telling civil servants that after their earning powers have been reduced significantly; their standard of life will improve because the economy will boom. Not under this present administration where accountability and transparency are taboo.
When the Executive paid lawmakers’ salaries in fresh 500 Liberian banknotes last December amid serious shortage of cash in commercial banks, leaving senators to demand the source of such money, you don’t need a rocket scientist to point that something is amiss.
Today, civil servants going to various commercial banks to receive their monthly pay are returning with frowning faces because their purchasing power is being reduced each month, thus, they cannot plan the family budget because of uncertainty.
How long would they bear such harsh condition, only God knows. One thing however, seems clear: Most ordinary Liberians would become poorer at the end of the first tenure of the government than when it came to power in 2018, for grinding poverty is already written on the faces of the people. This is not a prophecy of doom. It is the unfolding reality in the country.