Monrovia — With public resentments against the performance of many government officials, a bill that will continue to put public monies in government officials pocket, making them live in luxury after public service has been unanimously voted for and passed by the House of Representatives at the 53rd National Legislature.
On Thursday members of the House of Representatives voted for an amended bill entitled "Proposed Pension Bill of 2013" reintroduced by Representative Edwin M. Snowe (Independent District #6 Montserrado County) to provide pension and retirement benefits for the President and Vice President, the speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of representatives, the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate and members of the legislature, as well as elected officers of the Legislature, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme court.
The bill among many suggestions calls for (50%) and (25%) of the benefits of the President and vice President be given to a former President who was elected and has served his/her term successfully and is not re-elected, thus honorably retiring to private life, and who is not in any way gainfully employed by the government of Liberia.
The bill also calls for the provision of at least six personal staff to include, but not limited to two securities, a cook, a butler, two drivers with two new vehicles once every three years for the remainder of his or her natural life.
"Additionally, they shall be entitled to the annual medical checkup of his/her choice to be fully covered by the state. She or he shall be entitled to duty free privilege for all personal effects to include a vehicle, once every three years and be issued a diplomatic passport for the remainder of his/her natural life," the bill said.
The bill also calls for the provision of similar annuities for the spouse of a former President and Vice President who die as was given them and that similar amount and incentives be given children of former President and vice President in the case there is no surviving spouse until they turn 18 years old.
Annuities for former speaker
"A former speaker, deputy and President Pro-Tempore who was elected and has served his/her term successfully and is not elected, thus honorably retiring to private life, and who is not in any way gainfully employed by the government of Liberia, shall receive government Monthly pension salary equal to fifty percent of salary and twenty-five percent of incumbent speaker's benefit. She/he shall be provided five staff to include, but not limited to two securities, a cook, a butler, a car and a driver for the remainder of his Natural life," section 2.4.1 of the bill is quoted.
Like the President and vice President the former speaker shall be entitled to duty free privileges for all personal effects to include a vehicle once every three years, a diplomatic passport for the remainder of his natural life.
The bill is also seeking for the President and members of the Legislature, the Chief justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court receive similar benefits from the coffers of a sitting government. Presenting the bill to his colleagues, Representative Snowe claimed that for too long former officials of government, especially past Presidents that have served their country and reap no benefit during their retirement life.
He said, if this bill is accepted and passed by the both the Senate and House of Representatives it will, in his words, adds prestige to those offices and give dignity to those who have served especially elected positions. Like Snowe, CDC-Maryland County lawmaker, Dr. Bhofal chambers provided supporting comments to his colleague Snowe proposal, but added that civil servants be included.
The bill was passed and sent to the Liberian Senate for concurrence to be sent to the President for signature. With the way the bill is seeking to benefit the interest of government officials, many see the bill as another way to continue to give money to public officials at the detriment of the ordinary man in the wake of many accusations of corruption against those very public officials.