From the Editor’s Keyboard

On the proposed 2020 budget

2 December 2019 at 05:08 | 1149 views

The Proposed 2020 Budget: Establishment of Wages and Compensation Commission and the National Micro Credit Scheme

By Kortor Kamara, Special Contributor, USA

The seminal governmental document, apart from the constitution, that every Sierra Leonean must make himself au fait with is the annual government budget.

This document espouses the government’s policies and programs for the year and provides a detailed revenue and expenditure, of how the government intends to fund and execute it’s development programs.

The Minister of Finance, Hon. Jacob Jusu Saffa early this month stood in the well of parliament and read out the entire 2020 government budget.

I am however not sure how many of us found the time to listen or obtain a copy of the proposed budget, which is currently being debated by our elected parliamentarians.

From my perch here however, two specific proposals to address job creation and the establishment of a wages and compensation commission - to provide for payroll reforms, harmonization in the public sector and the alignment of the multiple pension laws - coupled with the introduction of a government financed micro credit scheme, stood out as very progressive interventionist policies, in the midst of multiple targeted interventions, introduced by the Finance Minister.

Firstly, the provision for the establishment of a national micro credit scheme by the Bio administration is very laudable and if properly implemented will help alleviate much of the perennial financing and growth problems encountered by small and medium sized enterprises.

The budgeting of 100 Billion Leones for the period 2020 to 2022 for micro enterprises, to be executed by the ministry of trade and industry, represents the government’s determination to address the trifecta issues of lack of financing, growth and unemployment, especially among the youths.

Secondly, by addressing the thorny issue of salary and compensation disparities in the public and civil service sector, which has been a bane of several past governments, the minister of Finance, Mr. JJ Saffa, has by shepherding establishment of the heitherto elusive Wages and Compensation Commission (WCC) effectively eliminated the source of resentment, inequality and unproductiveness in the public service.

The establishment of a standardized salary schedule, pay structure, performance evaluation and grading system for public employees of all classes of positions, that the proposed Commission would be expected to develop and strictly adhere to, would elimate the disparities in wages, as recently highlighted during the Commissions of Inquiry.

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