Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) is seriously concerned about the unnecessary strain the cabinet reshuffle will cause on the countrys 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 Bios 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 governments earlier pronouncements to implement additional expenditure control measures and harmonize the wage bill in the public sector to keep the wage bill sustainable. According to the governments 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.
We at CGG believe that what Sierra Leone currently needs is judicious management of the countrys 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 rotations and creations 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 level 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. The reshuffle shows a meagre 5.8% womens 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.
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