A super Civil Society movement in Liberia has sharply reacted to the Proposed Pension benefits bill enacted by the house of senate of the fifty-fourth national legislature.
In a press conference dated Friday September 9, the Chairman of the group Liberia’s chapter, Prof. Dr. Emmanuel K. Urey-Yarkpawolo said the movement condemned the bill in the highest terms and applauded the House of Representatives for trashing it.
Dr. Urey-Yarkpawolo told newsmen the GAM as a registered institution in Liberia will not sit and see lawmakers at the 54th legislature continued looting the country resource and allotting it to themselves and leaving vast majority of the Liberian public to suffer from economic hardship among other things.
The group described the act by the Liberian senate as “wickedness” and that the bill was mend to only please their interest.
“Our attention has be drawn to the recent bill passed by the Honorable Liberian Senate cited “The Integrated Pension and Benefits Scheme of 2022”, in which the Honorable Senators wickedly created a pension benefits for themselves, members of the Honorable House of Representatives, the President and Vice President.
GAM condemns this bill in the highest terms and applaud the Honorable House of Representatives for trashing it.
We ask the Honorable House of Representatives to remain firm on their decision”,
Dr. Urey-Yarkpawolo told newsmen at a major news conference at GAM Monrovia office Friday .
“The bill call for an unthinkable pension benefits for the members of the National Legislature, the President and Vice President among others.
GAM is not against pension scheme for public officials, what we are against is for the Honorable Senators to apportion money for themselves and their families at the detriment of the Liberian people after they have left offices.
Think about the unmerited pension benefits for 100 lawmakers and their immediate families and multiply this by the next 25 years and see the huge amount of money former lawmakers and their immediate families will be taking from the Liberian people, Prof. Urey-Yarkpawolo continued.
“Instead of always seeking benefits for themselves and their immediate families, the Honorable Senators should find means to empower the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, which has the statutory responsibility for pension and other work related benefits.
The Honorable Senators can develop an innovative approach where in part of the salaries of public officials who are not part of the Civil Service Agency can go towards their pension and other benefits.
Ladies and gentlemen, GAM as a reputable institution will continue to speak against ills in our society at the same time offering solutions. In 2020, we advised the Honorable Legislature not to proceed with the National Referendum as we clearly saw inadequacies in the process that could lead to failure.
We offered alternative plans but the Honorable Legislature did not listen to us and what we predicted came to pass-the Referendum was a failure”, GAM Chief Executive discloses.
“We are once again asking the Honorable Senators that there are possibilities that a pension scheme can be created that will be fair and just to the Liberian people. We are here to offer guidance if they so desire”.
The Grassroots Alternative Movement (GAM) as a registered institution is a social justice, political and advocacy organization committed to building a just society in Liberia with the tenets of fair play, equality and justice.
GAM is committed to fostering patriotism, good citizenship and productivity for the overall welfare and good image of Liberia.
It can be recalled recently some members of the house of senate voted to enact a bill seeking 50% benefits of salaries of some officials of the three branches of the Liberian Government.
But on Thursday September 8, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to ‘reject and return’ the senate’s bill calling for 50% benefits of salaries to some members of the three branches of Government.
The bill titled “an act adopting an integrated pensions and benefits scheme for certain categories of officials of the government of the republic of Liberia and to repeal and or amend certain portions of title 26, Legislative Act, Title 12, Executive Law and Title 17, Judiciary (1972) and the 2003 act which amends these laws”, for the three branches of government, seeks to allot 50% benefits to retired lawmakers, the President and Vice President, Justices as well as circuit courts judges.
It also indicates that the President will maintain 75% of his staff and assigned security detail following retirement.
In a heated debate on the floor of the House of Representatives in its Thursday extra sitting session, several members of the House frowned on the bill, terming it as draconian and only intended to suppress the already suffering masses.
The passage of the bill by the Senate sparked angry reactions from a large segment of the public, terming it as wicked attempt by their lawmakers to plunder the country’s resources and send millions into poverty.
Its introduction and subsequent transmission to the House sent social media into frenzy, with large segment of the public, terming it as wicked and a calculated attempt by their lawmakers to plunder the country’s resources and send millions into poverty.
Representative Larry Younquoi (District #8, Nimba County) termed it as “obnoxious and unreasonable” and should not be accepted. His fellow Nimba lawmaker, Rep. Dorwohn Twain Gleekia (District #6, Nimba County), expressed delight that the House was united and for once listening to their employers to snub the Senate bill. Rep. Gleekia called on his colleagues to go beyond the pension and thrash out the controversial US$30,000 allotted to them for legislative project.
Rep. Mary Karwor (District #2, Grand Bassa County) said, “This bill will die and die and never wake up again because if you retire, go on your farm and don’t look for benefits again so we will not pass this bill and we will throw it in the Red Sea”.