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NEWS : Politics  

APC Government Is Not Serious - Hon Elizabeth Lavalie
By Abdul Karim Kabia
Dec 17, 2008, 17:28
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Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Member of Parliament, Honourable Elizabeth Lavalie, who also doubles as Chairlady, Minority Party Parliamentary Committee on Tuesday 15th December 2008 has said in Freetown that the All Peoples Congress (APC) led government, is "unserious" and "insensitive" to the needs of the citizenry.

Hon. Lavalie was referring to the contents of the 2009 budget that is presently being debated in Parliament for which SLPP MPs have decided not to participate in its passing into law. She described the budget as a mere classroom budget, not a national one.

"Government is not oblivious of the conditions of service of civil servants but it is keeping a blind eye on this issue," she stated.

She said the minimum wage of civil servants should be Le.300,000 rather than its present status of Le.150,000, as she put it "that amount cannot even buy a bag of rice that has over the past one year witnessed a triple escalation in price."

Hon. Lavalie lambasted government for not respecting the fundamental right to food of its citizenry, as the salary cannot feed the families of civil servants.

"Such a salary package with the present situation in the country is tantamount to human rights abuse," she said.

She pointed out that the APC Government is always attributing the situation to global phenomenon, whilst their compatriots are busy exploring all means possible to better the lives of their citizens, saying, "the government should endorse policies on how to maximize its natural resources rather than placing emphasis on donor funding".

She also charged the APC of not wanting the legislative arm to function effectively as there are no strides to strengthen the House of Parliament to adequately scrutinize the affairs of the State.

She used the opportunity to advise the government to support schools, hospitals, youths and women in the country.

In reaction to the issue on discuss at an interview in the cocorioko online news, Finance and Economic Development Minister, David Carew said what happened in Parliament was that MPs felt that the amount allocated to them was not enough and they will not be able to carry out their oversight responsibilities effectively.

"They wanted $4000 as their salaries," he stated, adding that the budget did not carry that as government cannot afford it. He said they were however, engaging them to see how they can convince them to grow with the economy and wait until next year or the year after.

"The second point is that they are not the only ones feeling the effect of what Sierra Leoneans now come to refer to as the GLOBAL. Ministers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, civil servants, everybody is feeling the effect. So we must be careful how we award increases to particular interest groups," David Carew is quoted as saying.

"What I have done in my budget speech is to give a 20% increase to the national payroll," he stated. He said the Sierra Leone economy is performing better than ever under the leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma, adding that one of the obvious indicators is the return of the IMF after they withdrew during the previous administration.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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