George Mannah Weah makes awesome commitments that when reelected to the Liberian presidency in November, 2023, he will increase employment in the government sector, unlike 2017 when the Coalition for Democratic Change was elected on a ‘do as we go’ mandate.
Though those comments are not extra from what his government said it has already embarked upon for which it claims to have performed much better than any government since 1847, many perceive that that commitments are still unrealistic when civil servants do not know or understand how much is their take-home salary and even ordinary Liberians cannot be treated at public hospitals because of high fees, let alone the provision of basic services for the citizenry adding that the country has been placed on reverse mode since CDC’s ascendency.
But President Weah, among other things, outlined his future plans as one aimed at bolstering the county’s workforce and revitalizing the nation’s economy because when executed, it will have a significant impact on the country’s already bloated payroll, amidst his administration’s struggle and inability to effectively pay civil servants in time.
According to him, this might also have some potential strain on the country’s already burdened payroll and could also create financial challenges, potentially leading to increased national debt or reduce funding for other vital sectors.
President Weah wooing Liberians to vote him in the upcoming run-off election urged Liberians to carefully consider the benefits of his vision for Liberia.
Addressing scores of partisans at his CDC headquarters in Congo Town, Weah stated, “To every Liberian who voted me or not, let me thank and assure you of my unwavering resolve to build a prosperous nation for all Liberians.”
“To this end, I am therefore extending a hand of friendship, hoping that you will understand that this government has done more in a short period of time; so, join me and let us, together, continue on the path of development,” he said.
According to the Liberian leader, at the inception of his government five years ago, his administration increased the salary of medical doctors, but due to budgetary challenges, it did not extend to all public sector workers, including clinical health workers, mainly nurses, midwives, physician assistants, lab technicians, security sector, and teachers.
“But I pledge that we will effect appropriate increments that will be crosscutting, in order to impact every public sector worker performing critical service, including those in the security, education, health, as well all other sectors, with a view of ensuring improved working conditions so that salary/wages commensurate with prevailing economic conditions,” President Weah assured.
He maintained, “We also intend to accelerate efforts to ensure traditional leaders are all added to the government payroll, and I am also announcing the end of voluntary workers’ programs, both in the health and education sectors. All health workers and teachers currently volunteering will be placed on the payroll, beginning January 2024.”
The Liberian Chief Executive further explained that since 2020, his government has placed thousands of voluntary teachers on the payroll, and as such, “next year, my government commits to placing the remaining voluntary teachers on the public wage.”
He continued, “Beyond 2024, my government further commits to hiring additional teachers to continue to close the teacher gap, and as the government continues its policy of subsidizing public schools, we will also subsidize the payment of registration and graduation fees for all students.”
President Weah also emphasized, “We shall also ensure that the WASSCE fees payment is made perpetual by pushing through with new legislations, and explore our Tuition-Free Policy for Grades 1-6 in all public schools, in addition to the implementation of our campaign promise of establishing a Nationwide Cadet Program for young graduates.”
Meanwhile, President Weah also discussed that his next term, if given the mandate, will be dedicated to completing Liberia’s road infrastructure, revealing, “Because we intend to fulfill the pledge of ensuring the country’s capital is connected to every nearby county through fully paved roads.”
He added, “We will continue to grow our economy in order to provide more jobs for Liberians, including creating jobs in the small and medium enterprise sectors, and in key sectors like agriculture and manufacturing.”
“We will expand the capacity of the Liberia Electricity Corporation to reach more homes, while enhancing industrialization and the creation of jobs, and having reconstituted the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission – which now has seven independent commissioners – we will accelerate efforts to fight corruption and ensure accountability across government,” the President vowed.
The Liberian leader added, “We will also double our efforts to address concerns about livelihood, employment conditions of civil servants, and youth empowerment, and as a start, we will re-examine the Beach and Waterways Program and bring it back, under the supervision of the Liberia Maritime Authority.”
For the actuality of the vision, the President added, “Some Liberians will begin asking the relevant question about how the government will pay for these policy changes. The simple answer to my fellow Liberians is that my government, over the past 5 years, has increased domestic revenue by more than 120 million US dollars.”
“We used some of this increase to finance the 2023 elections, which cost the Government 53 million US dollars, and considering that we will not have another election until six years from now, we can use some of this increase to enhance the welfare of public sector workers in health, education, as well as the security sector, with the aim of improving living conditions,” he intoned.
As Liberia heads into the upcoming runoff elections, in view samples, most of the voters expressed that at least Weah has outlined promises to begin with unlike his ascendency when he did not promise anything but was voted unanimously.
While, others are of the view that throughout the six years, the Weah-led government made no promise because it was completing the projects started by the Sirleaf-led government therefore giving it another six years will be to enable it carry out its own projects based on the commitments expressed by Weah.