Sierra Leone to save $2m in wage bill slash

Thursday May 10 2018

Newly elected Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio.

Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

KEMO CHAM
By KEMO CHAM
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The new Sierra Leone government said it will save $2 million by slashing a bloated wage bill occasioned by the political patronage of the previous administration.

According to the newly-created Chief Minister's office, the defunct office of Chief of Staff employed some 106 staff, out of who only five were civil servants. The rest were hired on the basis of politically influenced contracts.

President Julius Maada Bio, in office for just over a month, quashed the office of Chief of Staff and replaced it with that of Chief Minister, a portfolio headed by Prof David Francis.

Prof Francis is also the chairman of the presidential transition team taking stock of the operations of the previous government.

Battered economy

The minister said in a statement issued by the President’s Press Secretary that they inherited a “battered economy” and the new government could not afford to maintain offices created “based on political compensation”.

“We are going to review the governance structure and every office must be fit for purpose,” he said, adding: “Our focus is to deliver on the key strategic priorities using a lean structure that is efficient and cost effective.”

President Bio, a former military head of state, campaigned on the promises of reintroducing discipline in governance, having accused his predecessor of presiding over a corrupt system.

The new president has already issued two widely praised executive orders, freezing procurement of some services.

The Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, Dr Julius Sandi, on Monday ordered all top civil servants to present their academic credentials as part of an ongoing audit of the government’s workforce. The move, according to the government, was geared towards ensuring efficiency in service delivery by placing the people in the right positions.

President Bio’s main campaign promise was to provide free basic and secondary education. The government says the spending cut was part of effort to raise the money for this highly ambitious project.

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