A whopping 52% of Sierra Leone’s budget is spent just on paying salaries. This is according to the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) of the country.
This startling fact was revealed to the Parliamentary Committee on Transparency and Accountability (TAC).
Chaired by the Majority Whip of Parliament, Hon. Claude D. M. Kamanda on the 28th July, 2015 in Committee Room 1 in Parliament, the TAC interfaced with officials from the HRMO on recruitment and other staffing issues in the country.
The Chairman of TAC, Hon. Kamanda said among other things that the purpose of the briefing was to update the Committee about the current status of the workforce in the country with specific reference to retirement; which he noted stood out stoutly as a topical issue when he and officials of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) returned from a national tour in the country recently.
He furthered that the strongest reason for retirement was to “create room for the young ones who are able to do the job; and to remove the retired and tired with the view of allowing the young ones to grow professionally on the job and boost their confidence and contributions towards nation building”.
He made reference to a list that was submitted to him under oath that “in 2015, 187 civil servants were retired from the President’s Office, down to the Public Service Commission”. He also said that if this trend continues quarterly and annually, it would do well and help the young ones immensely.
The Director-General of HRMO, Mr. A.R Baryoh in his briefing revealed to the Committee Members that the “Wage Bill of the GoSL accounts for 52% of the national budget which is unsustainable and donor driven”.
He said further that “this places serious burden on the national budget, which affects the development aspirations of the government, and impinges on the realization of the Agenda for Prosperity”. He also said that “20% is the international standard for wage bill on the national budget”, whilst noting that “50% of civil servants are working for the Ministry of Health and Sanitation”. He also said among other things that they recruit civil servants through the Public Service Commission and the Health Service Commission; HRMO was created by President Ernest Bai Koroma to align with modern human resource management for national development; the payroll is being managed by the Accountant General’s Department; the pay reform and the right-sizing of the civil service; recruitment; retirement; pensions and gratuities of staff; Human Resource Officers in MDAs dealing with staff attendance and performance appraisals; voluntary insurance with FITCO; and the data collected from a national staffing survey by HRMO are currently being collated and analyzed for official consideration.
The meeting noted that the legislators be further briefed on the voluntary insurance scheme with FITCO, whilst expressing delight for the 415 & 187 staff that were retired in 2014 & 2015 by the HRMO respectively; and showed concern for the 52% of the national budget that is being expended on the wage bill.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.