Liberia: President slash his salary by 40%

Liberia’s President Joseph Boakai has announced a 40% reduction in his salary. His office stated that this decision aims to set an example of “responsible governance” and show “solidarity” with the Liberian people. Recently, government salaries have faced intense scrutiny due to the rising cost of living, with around one in five people in Liberia living on less than $2 (£1.70) a day.

In February, Mr. Boakai revealed that his annual salary was $13,400. The salary cut will reduce it to $8,000. This move mirrors that of his predecessor, George Weah, who took a 25% pay cut. While some in Liberia have praised Mr. Boakai’s decision, others question whether it is a genuine sacrifice given his additional benefits, such as a daily allowance and medical coverage. The presidential office’s budget for this year is nearly $3 million.

Anderson D. Miamen, from the non-profit organization Centre of Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, called the president’s pay cut “welcoming.” He expressed hope that the public would see clearly how the deductions would positively impact their lives. W. Lawrence Yealue II, another advocate for government transparency, described the decision as “very commendable” and emphasized the need for leadership from the top. He also hopes that Mr. Boakai’s benefits will be reviewed in the next budget.

In addition to reducing his salary, Mr. Boakai has pledged to “empower” Liberia’s Civil Service Agency to ensure public servants receive fair compensation. Last week, a group of lawmakers protested the lack of official cars by arriving at parliament in tuk-tuks, known locally as keh keh, a common mode of transport for ordinary Liberians.

Mr. Boakai assumed office in January after defeating Mr. Weah in a run-off election. He has vowed to address corruption and financial mismanagement. Since taking office, Mr. Boakai has declared his assets and ordered an audit of the presidential office, though the results have not yet been released. He has also strengthened the General Auditing Commission and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission. Mr. Weah’s administration was marred by allegations of corruption and lavish spending, which led to mass protests as the cost of living increased for ordinary people.

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