Bio’s Cabinet Reshuffle Another Economic Burden
Sierra Leone’s President, His Excellency Brig. Rtd. Julius Maada Bio, has in a press release dated Thursday 7th November 2019 made changes to his cabinet. The reshuffle saw four of his ministers sacked while also creating two new ministries including ministry of Gender Affairs and ministry of Environment and a new embassy in Turkey to add up to the already bloated wage bill.
This latest reshuffle also saw other ministers reassigned to other ministries as in the case of Alpha Timbo, who has been appointed as the new minister of Labour and Social Security.
However, the reshuffle, which came at a time the country’s economy is on the brink of collapse because of the rising prices of food commodities and the continuous falling of value of the Leone as stated by the opposition NGC in its press release, has been viewed with mixed feelings in different quarters of the country.
Many believe the reshuffle is clueless especially with the creation of new ministries, new deputy ministers and new embassies, which adds another economic burden.
President Bio’s government, which has over the last eighteen months, come under serious criticisms over its creation of an over bloated wage bill amidst the hues and cries of inheriting a battered economy from the past regime, seems not to care at all about the welfare of its citizens who are finding it difficult everyday to put food on their tables.
The latest reshuffle, which has been considered as an unnecessary economic burden, according to the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP) leader, Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, who believes the Bio led government, has clearly demonstrated that it is not serious about finding solutions to the sufferings of the masses.
Just recently, the opposition, National Grand Coalition Party (NGC) in a press conference stated Sierra Leone under the SLPP administration is in an ‘’Economic Emergency’’. The NGC was very vociferous in its condemnations of the SLPP government over its failure to handle the economy of the country, which it says was at its worst ever state.
Rather than be worried over the state of the economy as described by the opposition NGC and many others as any serious government would have done, the Bio led government in what seems to be a response to those criticisms, added salt to injuries by creating what is clearly another economic burden on citizens as two more ministries, three more deputy ministers and two more embassies have been added to the already bloated wage bill which now according to the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), has increased from Le 160. 4 Billion in March 2018 to Le 235. 2 Billion in September 2019.
Whilst in opposition, President Bio was everywhere lambasting the then government of reckless spending especially in the area of huge wage bill, which he said, was unnecessary. He promised to cut down on the wage bill and fix the ‘’rotten economy’’ should he be elected as president.
Eighteen months on after being elected president, his promise of fixing the economy still remains to be seen while the wage bill has expanded to a level never seen in the country’s political history.
Citizens are of the view that the recent reshuffle by the president especially the creation of the new establishments which are to be serviced by taxpayers monies and his deliberate refusal to sack the minister of Finance, Bank Governor, Financial Secretary and Lands minister among others who according to many citizens, have exhibited high level of incompetence, was clueless, uncalled for and a deliberate ploy to rip off the suffering masses.
By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara
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