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Faith  Nyasuguta 

In a significant move to connect with the struggles of his people, Liberia’s President Joseph Boakai has announced a 40% reduction in his salary. This decision, aimed at addressing the economic pressures facing the country, echoes former President George Weah’s earlier decision to take a 25% salary cut.

President Boakai’s announcement comes amid rising costs of living in Liberia. His decision to slash his salary is a gesture of solidarity with the Liberian people, emphasizing his commitment to responsible governance and empathy for their socio-economic hardships. By doing so, he hopes to set a precedent for other government officials and demonstrate genuine leadership during these challenging times.

The economic situation in Liberia has led to widespread discontent, with many citizens criticizing the high salaries of government officials. Approximately one-fifth of the population lives on less than $2 a day, highlighting the stark contrast between the living conditions of ordinary Liberians and the earnings of their leaders. 

President Boakai’s annual salary of around $13,400 will be reduced to $8,000, though the total budget for the presidential office, including daily allowances and medical coverage, remains at $3 million this year.

President Boakai / Facebook/

In addition to his pay cut, President Boakai has pledged to empower the Civil Service Agency to ensure that public employees receive fair compensation for their work. This move aims to address the broader issue of equitable pay and benefits for all government workers, not just those at the highest levels.

Reactions to President Boakai’s decision have been mixed. While some praise the gesture as a positive step toward more responsible governance, others question the sincerity of the sacrifice given the additional benefits he receives. Anderson D. Miamen from the Centre of Transparency and Accountability in Liberia welcomed the pay cut but expressed hope that the public will clearly see how the deductions will be used to benefit the people. 

Similarly, W. Lawrence Yealue II, an advocate for government transparency, commended the president’s decision, emphasizing the importance of leadership from the top.

The president’s commitment to transparency and accountability extends beyond his salary reduction. Since taking office in January, after defeating George Weah in a run-off election, Boakai has declared his assets and ordered an audit of the presidential office. The results of this audit are yet to be released, but the move signals a clear break from the past administration’s alleged corruption and financial mismanagement.

Furthermore, President Boakai has strengthened the General Auditing Commission and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission to ensure more robust oversight of government activities. These measures are part of his broader strategy to tackle corruption and enhance financial integrity within the government.

Former Liberia President George Weah /Bloomberg/

The issue of government transparency and accountability remains a hot topic in Liberia. Recently, a group of lawmakers protested the delay in receiving their official cars by arriving at parliament in tuk-tuks, locally known as keh keh, which are commonly used by ordinary Liberians. This symbolic act highlighted the disconnect between the expectations of government officials and the realities faced by the general population.

President Boakai’s administration is working to bridge this gap. By taking a substantial pay cut and implementing measures to improve transparency and accountability, he aims to restore trust in the government and address the economic challenges facing the nation. The president’s actions are a clear message that he is serious about reform and committed to leading by example.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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