LIBERIA: Tubman University Professors Threaten Go-Slow For ‘Pro-Poor Salary Cut’

Professors and other teaching staff of the Tubman University in Maryland County, southeastern Liberia have threatened to stage a go-slow if what appeared that the Liberia Government is contemplating of cutting their salaries is materialized, they will not relent, but to implement their plans.

According to a local radio correspondent in the County, the objective of the Liberian Government stance is in In continuation of President George Weah’s Pro-Poor Agenda, Cabinet ministers, in their second crucial sitting, have adopted several measures to enhance the government’s position in realization of its objective.

The measures include the reduction or standardization of salaries for ministers of government and heads of autonomous agencies.

The decision was reached on last April 25, during the Cabinet’s second session at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and chaired by President Weah.

The cabinet also took a number austerity measures aimed at the standardization salaries across government, especially within the Executive Branch, an Executive Mansion release said yesterday.

The cabinet agreed that “No longer will any official of the government, including heads of autonomous agencies make US$10,000 or US$15,000 respectively.

The cabinet resolved that heads of public corporations or autonomous agencies will make not more than US$7,800 as salary. Cabinet also took a decision for a 10% salary reduction across the board for cabinet ministers – mainly those at the highest level of the executive.

This decision across the board will affect approximately 4,140 employees; including civil servants that make above US$1,000. The decision by the cabinet will take effect in the pending 2018/2019 fiscal budget.

Meanwhile, the cabinet has exhaustively discussed the 2018/19 fiscal budget with a view of identifying means to support national development that will impact the lives of the poor people and to ensure that money is not wasted.

It may be recalled that during his inaugural speech President George Weah announced that he would reduce his monthly salary by 25% and return it to the government.

At the time he used the occasion to call on his cabinet members and top government officials, including lawmakers and senators to see a reason to make personal adjustments in their monthly income and return it to the government because of the new Pro-Poor Agenda that is focused on the welfare of the poor in the country.

Though the President’s earlier decision to reduce his monthly income by 25% was welcomed by the people, views sampled by the Daily Observer appeared to suggest that because it was a Constitutional Issue, no government official, particularly lawmakers and others could be forced to follow the President’s example.

But now that the cabinet has decided to adopt austerity measures calling for a reduction in salaries,  it stands to be seen if the conscience of the Executive would rub-off on the members of the Legislature, who earn astronomical salaries and hefty benefits.

The Tubman University professors and other staff say they are rejecting this new measure by the government, noting that it will affect them instead.

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