Page 13 of the New Direction Manifesto of President Bio indicates that his (President Bio) government will harmonize the structure of the wage bill to keep it sustainable.
Departing from such campaign promise, Leader of National Grand Coalition in Parliament, Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella has exposed the government of President Bio as the recent budget increased the wage bill from Le 1.89 Trillion in 2017 to Le 2.40 Trillion in 2019.
This was done when the former United Nations strong man and economist was contributing to the debate on the 2019 budget on Monday 19 November 2018.
Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella alluded that despite the three poverty reduction strategies programmes during the past 20 years (One from the SLPP and two from the APC-Agenda for Change and Agenda For Prosperity respectively), Sierra Leone has either stagnated or has retrogressed in terms of ‘human development and economic transformation.’
He stated that it so because couple with the indicators, 68% of the total population of Sierra Leone are multidimensional poor and that 70% of the rural population lives below the poverty line
“… It is within this context that we argue that our budget and our system of governance cannot afford to be business as usual,” Yumkella warned the SLPP Government of President Bio.
He noted that any attempt at policy or system changes including the system financial allocation whether gradual or pragmatic must go hand-in-hand with institutional reforms.
“We cannot be implementing policies and processes in the same old ways and expect outcomes that are different from what obtained under the previous government. Such an approach can best be described as putting new wine in old bottles. It is right that we embark on a New Direction but it is vital that this New Direction deals with fundamentals and not just symptoms,” Yumkella cautioned Bio.
He also highlighted that the reason the wage bill has increased dramatically is largely due to the increased in the number of subvented agencies.
He questioned the rational for the massive hiring of civil servants and the continuous creation of additional commission, agencies and directorates rather than rationalizing the institutions and their wage structure.
“We want to caution the government that the bane of the previous government has been the proclivity to create jobs for the boys. We urge the government to eschew such dangerous practice which has the potential to institute favoritism, nepotism and cronyism in the government service leading to inordinate and expansion of the wage bill which in 2017 stood at Le1.89 Trillion or 57 of domestic revenue and is already at Le 2.067 Trillion and projected to be Le2.40 Trillion of the budget in 2019,” KKY maintained.