Of What Benefit to Govt? -Lofa Senator Questions Salary Cut

By: Anthony Q. Jiffan, Jr.

Lofa County Senator George Tengbeh has questioned the 10% salary cut being carried out by the government of Liberia requesting explanation from the Civil Service Agency and the Finance and Development Planning Ministry regarding how this process is being done and what economic benefit has the exercise brought to the Liberian government.

The Lofa County Senator has accordingly written the Plenary of the Liberian Senate requesting the body to invite the heads of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and Civil Servant Agency to brief the body on the policy

In his communication, the Lofa County senator noted that upon the proclamation by President George Manneh Weah, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning immediately began the process of 10% cut down in the salaries of government officials and civil servants who made above US$1,000.

According to the communication, the cut down of salary of civil servant is currently in progress and that there are lots of complaints from civil servants, especially in the health sector, that it is being done without prior notice.

Senator Tengbeh indicated furthered that Liberians are aware of current economic situation in the country, but believed that it is also prudent as the people’s representatives that they ensure that the people are informed as to how the process is being carried out.

“Fellow colleagues, I am kindly asking that we invite the heads of the Ministry of Finance and Civil Servant Agency to come and explain to this body as to how this process is being done and what economic benefit has the exercise brought to the Liberian government.

The 10% salary cut from the pay of service servants has been contentious in the political- economic landscape of Liberia has obvious become one of the reasons for public disenchantment and agitation.

The issue has been one of the core factor s being used by the Council of Patriots to confront government on the poor economic performance that have characterized the CDC regime of President George Manneh Weah.

The Lofa County Senator has been vocal on national issues since he entered the House of Senate. It can be recalled Lofa County Senator Tengbeh had complained to the plenary of the Liberian Senate of the 53rd Legislature under the Unity Party regime regarding a verbal exchanges between the Senator and authorities at the Ministry of Finance.

At the time, the Lofa County Senator at two official functions blamed Finance Minister Amara Konneh for being personally responsible for the budget shortfalls the country had experienced over the years of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf regime, and called for Amara Konneh’s resignation or dismissal.

In the communication to the plenary Thursday, May 1, dated April 30, 2014, Sen. Tengbeh pleaded with his colleagues for contemptuous action against Minister Konneh for a release issued against him on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, “using adjectives on me such as comical, reckless and irresponsible while performing my Legislative duties in fulfillment of Rule 57 Sections 1&2 of the standing rules of the Liberian Senate…”

Senator Tengbeh who Chairs the Senate Committee on Maritime, and co-chairs Rules, Order & Administration at the time continued in his communication: “In addition to the adjectives against me, the Minister of Finance’s release further stated that the National Legislature is the one that has failed to utilize the expertise of the Legislative Budget Office (LBO) to give technical advice on issues relating to the budget.”

Meanwhile, Montserrado County Senator Saah H. Joseph has been selected to chair the Senate Standing Committee on Executive of the 54th Legislature; vowed to commit himself to the promotion of the Weah-led administration’s Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.

Senator Joseph noted that as a chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Executive, he will ensure that the senate provide the necessary supports require of them to accomplishing the pro poor agenda. “My goal is to ensure sure the President’s developmental agenda is understood when the executive presents a bill, and to know and ensure that such bill benefits the Liberian people”.

Senator Joseph said his contribution to the Liberian people will include protection of the sanity of the Liberian Senate which he said will make Liberians to believed their representations at the level of the House of Senate,

“Well, we are going to work as a team; our goal is to make sure to protect the sanity of the Liberian Senate to ensure that the Liberian people believe in those who represent them at senate,” he pointed out.

The Montserrado County Senator added, “We will work collectively to ensure that the image of the Liberian Senate is protected; adding, when we mention the Liberian Senate, there should be a different [view]”.

Speaking to a team of legislative reporters following his election to the position of Chairman on the Senate Committee on Executive, the former District #13 representative stressed that he will making sure to work with the leadership of the Senate in focusing on the basic needs of the Capitol Building to include the welfare of the staffers of the senate.

“Even though I am just from the House of Representatives, but I have worked with members of the senate in the past and we have a great relationship,” saying that they respect him.

“If you can remember during the Ebola crisis, the both houses honored me for my work in Liberia and for our people who were attended to during the scourge; and so I think they know me and believed in me as their colleague” Senator Joseph asserted.

He further said it is important that he, Senator Saah H. Joseph, replaced the president upon his election to the presidency because they all have the goal and spirit to cater for the development and growth of the country and its people.

He believes in the pro poor agenda of the government and President Weah, a man with the spirit of coordination that can keep a good working relationship between the executive and the senate.

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