By Martin K. N. Kollie | Opinion |
The 2018-2019 budget of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs has increased from US$18,689,116 to US$21,539,211. This accounts for a whopping 13.2 percent increment (US$2,850,095) even though the government is still struggling to generate an uncollected revenue of US$332 million from the fiscal year 2017-2018.
The nation remains aid-dependent and loan-reliant while the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs has budgeted over US$21.5 million just in a period of 12 months. Now we know why Minister McGill secured a loan of US$200,000 to purchase a luxurious home after becoming a Minister just in 3 months. When did Minister McGill get so interested in securing a US$200,000 loan? Is it after becoming Minister for just 90-days?
Now, we know why Minister Nathaniel McGill took a whopping US$200,000 Loan to purchase a luxurious palace.
Hon. McGill a pro-poor Minister or a pro-rich Minister? So coming to power was all about self-enrichment at the expense of the ordinary masses? Now we know why Minister McGill secured a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home. This is the pitiless pay-back our people get when indigenous vampires are in charge of state resources.
According to the projection of FY2017-2018, this fiscal year’s budget of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs should actually be US$14.4 million due to investor aversion, global macroeconomic shocks, decrease in prices of iron ore and rubber, Ebola and election aftershocks, etc. Why then budget over US$21.5 million just for Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs alone.
What is the rationale for even spending US$580,000 on consultancy and US$180,000 on food and catering services when there is no public high school in Liberia with access to internet, library or science laboratory? This pro-poor mantra seems to be a cliché of charade and contradiction.
While 48,000 inhabitants of Clara Town live in the slum with access to only 6 latrines, this Minister is buying a home costing US$200,000 in just 90-days of this pro-poor government. Is Nathaniel McGill a pro-poor Minister or a pro-rich Minister? Now we know why Minister McGill took a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home in the World’s fourth poorest country.
Even though we will be spending more than half a million just on consultancy, but US$91,814 has also been budgeted for Advisory Board. So, why can’t the advisory board provide consultancy? This ‘pro-poor’ government under President Weah needs to refrain from overspending, wastage, fiscal indiscipline and economic sabotage.
While 16 percent of Liberian households are food insecure according to FAO and WFP, US$582,592 has been budgeted for Celebration, Commemoration and State Visit, US$100,000 for Residential Property Lease and US$1,395,000 for Special Operation Services.
Now we know why Minister Nat McGill took a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home. As the masses remain hopeless and vulnerable to economic peril, the CDC-led government is spending over 86 percent of our nation’s 2018-2019 budget on recurrent expenditure alone. I wonder what then goes to capital investment.
The wage bill under former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was US$295m. Unfortunately, it has increased under President George M. Weah to US$303.4m. What difference can this pro-poor government make when the people’s interest has been swept under the carpet so soon?
There is a huge rush for wealth accumulation. Minister Nat McGill is set to own his first luxurious home by lavishly spending THE PEOPLE’S RESOURCES without any remorse. Now we know why Minister McGill took a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home.
While the nominal wage of civil servants remains very low with real wage being heavily impacted due to inflation, Minister McGill will now have an opportunity to live in a palace. Why have they even budgeted US$13 million again to renovate the Executive Mansion when over US$25 million has already been spent to renovate this same mansion?
Our ultimate interest is to ensure that our government does what is RIGHT and RIGHTEOUS in the best interest of our PEOPLE. We have a national duty never to economize with THE FACTS but to demonstrate a sense of PATRIOTISM. We have made a solemn pledge to remain loyal to Liberia, and no one else.
From the largest slum of West Point and the top of Ducor, I see a NEW LIBERIA rising above the African Continent. HOPE is blooming – Change is in sight – Liberia will rise.
About The Author:
Martin K. N. Kollie is a student studying Economics at the University of Liberia, a youth and student activist, and a global columnist. He is a stalwart of the Student Unification Party. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org