Liberian President Reduces His Salary By 40%

President Joseph Boakai of Liberia has announced that he will slash his salary by 40%.

His office said he hoped to set a precedent for “responsible governance” and demonstrate “solidarity” with Liberians. Government salaries have been under intense scrutiny recently as Liberians complain about the rising cost of living. Around one in five people live on less than $2 (£1.70) a day in the West African state.

In February, Boaki revealed that his annual salary was $13,400. This means that the cut will bring it down to $8,000. Mr Boakai’s move echoes that of his predecessor, George Weah, who took a 25% cut in his salary.

Some in the West African nation have hailed Mr Boakai’s decision, but others wonder whether it is truly a sacrifice given that he also receives benefits like a daily allowance and medical cover.The presidential office’s budget is almost $3m this year. Anderson D Miamen, from non-profit organisation the Centre of Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, said the president’s pay cut is “welcoming”.

“We just hope that the public will clearly see where the deductions will go and how they will be used to positively impact the lives of the people,” he told the BBC.

W Lawrence Yealue II, whose organisation also campaigns for government transparency, described the president’s decision as “very commendable” and said that “leadership has to be provided from the top”.

He added that hoped Mr Boakai’s benefits would be reviewed in the budget for the next financial year. As well as reducing his salary, Mr Boakai has pledged to “empower” Liberia’s Civil Service Agency to make sure public servants “receive fair compensation for their contributions to the country”.

Last week a group of lawmakers complained they had not received their official cars, which they needed to perform their duties. As a form of protest, they turned up to parliament in tuk-tuks, known locally as keh keh, a common mode of transport for ordinary Liberians. Mr Boakai took office in January after defeating Mr Weah in a run-off election. He vowed to tackle corruption and financial mismanagement. As well as declaring his assets since taking office, Mr Boakai has ordered an audit of the presidential office. The results have not yet been released. Mr Boakai has also beefed up the General Auditing Commission and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.

Mr Weah’s government was plagued by allegations of corruption, and lavish spending, which triggered mass protests as the cost of living spiralled for ordinary people.

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