President Bio’s cabinet reshuffle puts unnecessary strain on exhausted wage bill

Campaign for Good Governance: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 November 2019:

Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) is seriously concerned about the unnecessary strain the cabinet reshuffle will cause on the country’s already bloated public service wage bill and the economy; especially at a time when ordinary Sierra Leoneans are grappling to cope with a crippling economy.

On 7th November, a release from the Office of the President announced changes in President Bio’s cabinet, which saw the rotation and replacements of ministers and deputies, as well as the creation of new ministerial and deputy ministerial portfolios.

Of particular concern in this current reshuffle is the impact of an ever-expanding public sector wage bill.

It is our considered view that these appointments and reshuffle do not align with the government’s earlier pronouncement s ‘to implement additional expenditure control measures and harmonize the wage bill in the public sector to keep the wage bill sustainable’.

According to the government ’s own records, the wage bill has increased from Le 160.4 billion in March 2018 to Le 235.2 billion in September 2019, hence an increase of Le 74.8 billion which is almost 47% for just the month of September 2019, compared to March 2018.1

We at CGG believe that what Sierra Leone currently needs is judicious management of the country’s lean resources and institutional investments in governance systems and processes that will accelerate effective delivery and productivity, not a bloated cabinet.

CGG acknowledges and respects the fact that rotating or changing the composition of ministers and deputies is a key feature in governance. CGG is however concerned that some of these rotation and creation of new cabinet posts have been made without strong empirical basis of necessity.

We are of the view that political expediency is gradually replacing sound economic and governance judgements.

We therefore urge government to provide clarity on whether or not these rotations and replacements are being made based on performance or other factors.

We believe that to promote transparency and to encourage a fair scrutiny of our public servants, the government is duty-bound to tell Sierra Leoneans why they have decided to expand the public wage bill at a time of severe economic hardship.

Another serious issue of concern is the continued low number of women appointed to political leadership positions. CGG is particularly disturbed by the low representation of women in the current reshuffle.

This is worrying after years of campaigning for a minimum 30% representation for women. The reshuffle shows a meagre 5.8% women’s inclusion.

CGG therefore wishes to remind the government of its manifesto which promised the promotion of gender equality and equity.

Finally, CGG would like to urge the government to refocus its agenda and prioritize finding practical solutions to ameliorate the present sufferings of ordinary people. Rather than putting pressure on an already constrained public purse, the government should elevate efforts to cut down on waste, improve service delivery and revive the ailing economy.

Campaign for Good Governance (CGG)

For enquires contact: cgg@slcgg.org

Marcella Samba Sesay – Executive Director: +23276984590, Bernadette French – Head of Programmes: +23276622977, and Sahr Kendema – Programme Manger: +23276356691.

6 Comments

  1. It really baffles me to hear from supporters of the SLPP, that they inherited a bankrupt economy from the previous government,the APC. How come then the president went ahead and appointed more ministers,more government workers abroad and locally,than the previous government.He should have appointed less workers.Maybe, people like Mr. Alusine Fallay can explain to us better in that regard as to why he should appoint more workers in a bad economy.

    I am a nonpartisan and I want what is best for Mama Salone, and I would like whatever government in power to succeed for the betterment of the country. People should not be myopic. The last APC government at least impressed me in the road network, so let us praise them for that. If president Bio does what he says he is going to do for the country, I will definitely praise him, even though this is his second time around in governance. Everyone is supposed to do better in his/her second time in office, though it rarely happens.

  2. Our current bloated public sector is not in our national interest. It is too top-heavy. This anomaly can be corrected by deciding on a cut-off point on salaries, followed by a 33.3% reduction in the salaries of all public officials and civil servants – particularly Ministers – above that cut-off point.

  3. I am always confused whenever comments about the bad economy in the country is making people accuse others of belonging to the opposition, or claiming that the government is meeting the IMF financial obligations. Like seriously, are we trying to satisfy IMF conditions at the expense of the masses or improve the standard of living of Sierra Leoneans?

    Let us put politics aside and frankly discuss the issue of the economy. I don’t want this generation to betray their tasks but rather to fufil it.

  4. Indeed,wise men will always continue to enlighten humanity with their gifted words. It must be so. Give the SLPP prudent advice,and it ends up wasted like raindrops falling into a bucket full of holes. Now let’s reflect,for a minute.This wayward,underperforming,SLPP government,resembles an ancient Chinese Dragon with three heads – One enormous head,and two little ones,that could spit out fire ceaselessly,without taking a moment’s pause.

    But strangely,the fires being emitted by them,are as cold as ice. On the left,and right sides of the Giant dragon’s shoulders,there,defiantly sits the two little frowning heads,one facing East,and the other West. Strangely,the huge head of the dragon,that looks like a truck in its size,cannot act,or make decisions on its own,unless the two angry little heads tell it to do so. If they say “Attack” or “destroy” in the twinkle of an eye, without hesitation it will be done. “Perplexing” an old man once noted,”that this great Dragon isn’t aware of its unmatched powers abilities,and strength.”

    The President represents the huge head of the Dragon,and the two frowning little heads,sitting on both its shoulders,facing East and West,respectively,are the Chief Minister,and Minster of Finance. The fires they are spitting is cold,symbolising they have no power at all…But they are the ones that run our country – not the President. These men have both mastered the art of deceiving,and manipulating this gullible President,because he is totally insecure. True.

    For what logical reasons is an incompetent, Finance minister,that is strangling the poor masses,still holding on to that office? And where was he and Francis when the President decided to recklessly increase government expenditure by appointing more ministers,that our nation doesn’t need at this time? Its clear,they as putting partisan politics first, above the interest of our nation. Their Mission? Fleecing the system – milking it completely dry….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  5. I wish this organization should have been more vocal within the past ten years. But probably the brown envelope was keeping them quiet when Corruption was on the rampage in our country. Now with more transparency by the weekly briefing and updates by the vibrant information minister plus more freedom of expression against the current government over the media without any reprisals. They are entitled to their opinion, which seems to come from the playbook of the APC party. But I hope that the smart leadership whom I personally admired will count our blessings of the MCC report rather than minimizing it.

    The IMF and the World Bank that are responsible for economic rating have already rated this country positively because they have been treating their financial obligations seriously and positively. Let’s give this government the tools and time (at least 5 years) to turn the economy around because even in the USA after the economic meltdown, it took former President Barack Obama (after bailing out the failed banks and Auto industry and introducing the Cash for Clunker program) 8 years of economic recovery which President Trump is now benefiting from. Compared to Sierra Leone, President Bio who inherited a bankrupt economy with IMF Austerity conditions to remove fuel and rice subsidies as a starter. Please give us a break.

    • It’s unfortunate that every time a journalist speaks the truth there must have been “brown envelope.” What gives me comfort on the sideline of events is watching British journalism going into the gutters, but with no one accusing them of “brown envelope.”

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