By Ethel A. Tweh
The Liberian Senate has unanimously voted to take a second look at a controversial proposed Integrated Pension and Benefits Scheme for certain categories of Government Officials.
Last week the House of Representatives rejected the controversial pension and benefit scheme after it was passed by the Liberian Senate with lucrative lifetime benefits appropriated for retired lawmakers and their families.
The Senate’s move drew a public backlash, especially for what many thought is their lawmaker’s insensitivity to the plights of the ordinary people in seeking lifetime enjoyment for themselves while the vast majority of the population lives in poverty.
Under public pressure, the Senate says it will also review the current Pension Scheme for Civil Servants.
This follows a debate by members of the Liberian Senate on the action of their colleagues at the House of Representatives rejecting the pension scheme.
Members of the Liberian Senate say they still believe that the rejected proposed bill crafted by the Senate has created the atmosphere to save more money for the government in the provision of pension benefits for former lawmakers than the current existing Pension Law of 2003.
The existing law requires that retired lawmakers, whether or not they have served for a term, are to benefit 50% of lawmakers’ salary.
The Senate said the proposed law however seeks to save more money for the government as retired lawmakers, who served two terms benefit 30% of the salary of the Incumbent Lawmaker and 10% for one term serving lawmakers.
The proposed legislation does not make provision for retired Lawmakers who were defeated in elections as they were not honorably retired.
The Senators argued that the purpose of the law was to harmonize the 2003 Law with the current proposal consistent with the fiscal space of the current day reality in the country.