The huge salaries and benefits earned by lawmakers at the national legislature have drawn the attention of Liberians under the ambiance “Citizens of the Republic of Liberia.”
The group, Tuesday storms the grounds of the capitol with a petition that article 36 of the constitution be subjected to referendum that would lead to amendment in line with article 91 of the constitution.
Article 36 of the constitution states that, senators and representatives shall receive from the republic remuneration for their services to be fixed by law, provided that any increase shall become effective at the beginning of the next fiscal year.
Senator Oscar Cooper of Margibi County has been the lone proponent, advocating for salary cut while the vice presidential candidate of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change Senator Jewel Howard Taylor has been pushing for increment. Cooper himself has not halved his salary to demonstrate the sincerity of his argument.
The application of the constitution with respect to Article 36 as proffered by the group is yet to be implemented by past and present legislators.
“Article 36 as seen above is vague thus, given the legislative branch an autonomous power to determine its own salaries and benefits; this has raised lots of concerns in many corners of the country with some members of the senate calling for a salary cut of 25% with no real action taken.” Protestors said in their petition.
Members of the House of Representatives earned US$14,342 in salaries and benefits while members of the Senate also earned in salaries and benefits US$15,424.
“It is not sustainable or feasible to pay a small tier of public officials astronomically; sadly, this is the current situation in our country.”
However, the House’s co-chairman on Ways Means and Finance, Jeremiah Koung along with the chairman on claims and petition, Robertson Siaway received the petition and vowed to ensure that recommendations therein would be forwarded to plenary session for action.