Liberian president cuts salary by 40%

Liberian President Joseph Boakai has announced that he will take a 40% salary cut.

The presidency said the president wanted to set a precedent for “responsible governance” and demonstrate “solidarity” with the Liberian people.

Government salaries have come under intense scrutiny in recent days as Liberians complain about the rising cost of living, with almost one in five people living on less than $2 (£1.70) a day in the West African country.

Boakai said in February that his annual salary was $13,400. The cut will bring his annual salary down to $8,000.

Boakai’s moves are reminiscent of those of his predecessor. George Weahhad his salary cut by 25%.

While some in the West African country have praised Boakai’s decision, others question whether it is really a sacrifice given the benefits he receives, including a daily allowance and health insurance.

The President’s Office’s budget this year is about $3 million.

Anderson D. Miamen of the Liberian nonprofit Center for Transparency and Accountability said the presidential salary cut was “welcome.”

“We just want people to have a clear understanding of where their money is going and how it is being used to have a positive impact on people’s lives,” he told the BBC.

W. Lawrence Yale, whose group also campaigns for government transparency, called the president’s decision “highly commendable” and said “leadership must come from the top.”

He added that he hopes Boakai’s stipend will be reviewed in next year’s budget.

Boakai promised to cut his own salary and “empower” the Liberian Civil Service to ensure that civil servants “receive fair compensation for their contributions to the country.”

Last week, lawmakers complained that they were not receiving the official vehicles they needed to carry out their duties.

As part of their protest, they traveled to Parliament in tuk-tuks, locally known as “kekes,” a common form of transport for ordinary Liberians.

Boakai defeated Weah in a runoff election and was sworn in as president in January.

He vowed to tackle corruption and financial mismanagement.

President Boakai has declared his assets since taking office and ordered an audit of his office, the results of which have yet to be made public.

Boakai also strengthened the General Audit Commission and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.

Weah’s government has been plagued by corruption allegations and wasteful spending, sparking mass protests as the cost of living for ordinary people soared.

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