Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 May 2018:
Since taking up office as Sierra Leone’s newly elected president just over five weeks ago, president Julius Maada Bio and his Governance Transition Committee have been working tirelessly in search of financial savings across government, so that he can balance the books and pay for much needed services. The country has no money. The outgoing APC government bled the coffers dry.
After Monday’s announcement that all senior civil servants above Grade 7 must submit their CVs and evidence of qualifications to the government’s head of human resources, to ensure that the public service is fit for purpose and financial wastage can be cut, today Bio has gone one step further.
He has decided to end the contract of over 100 people – APC political appointees working for president Koroma – including the role of State House Chief of Staff.
According to a statement from president Bio’s newly appointed Chief Minister David Francis, a whopping 15 billion Leones (equivalent to USD $2 million), will be slashed off the wage bill left behind by former president Koroma and his State House Chief of Staff.
Successive annual reports of the country’s Auditor General, had identified tens of millions of dollars spent by State House without transparency and accountability.
Most of the spending incurred at State House, were unsupported by authorized requisition statements and receipts.
The newly approved Chief Minister, Professor David J. Francis (Photo) has committed to slashing the Le 15 billion (USD $2 million) wage bill, ramped up by the former APC government.
According to statement released yesterday by the Bio government’s Press Secretary, “the former Office of the Chief of Staff, which has ceased to exist with the creation of the Office of the Chief Minister, employed 106 staff with an exorbitant wage bill of Le 15 billion (USD $2 million) per annum. Out of the 106 staff employed by the former Office of the Chief of Staff, only 5 were civil servants and the remaining 101 were politically appointed contractual jobs.”
The Chief Minister, Professor David J. Francis, has expressed his determination to cut this exorbitant wage bill created by the former APC Government and to drastically reduce the number of staff.
“We have inherited a battered economy and this new Government cannot afford to maintain offices created in the previous administration based on political compensation. We are going to review the governance structure and every office must be fit for purpose.
“Our focus is to deliver on the key strategic priorities using a lean structure that is efficient and cost effective. There is no more business as usual,” Professor David J. Francis states.
The statement says that “the government of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio will continue to cut Government wastage and ensure that there is effective wage bill control mechanism.”
Analysts say that today’s action by president Bio will go a long way to instill confidence in his government’s ability to manage the economy which is facing bankruptcy, after ten years of corruption and poor governance by the former APC government.