By: Sorie Fofana.
On Friday 2nd November, 2018 the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa delivered the Government Budget and Statement of Economic and Financial Policies for the Financial Year, 2019 in the Chamber of Parliament. Members of Parliament are expected to debate and approve the budget this week. Many people have described the budget as a People’s centered budget. Some people have even referred to it as the Poor People’s Budget. Whatever way one looks at it, this budget seeks to improve human capital development and restore fiscal discipline in the management of the economy.
Highlights Of the 2019 Budget
The SLPP Government is establishing a Wage and Salaries Commission that will determine wages and compensation for all public officers.
The SLPP Government will recruit 5,000 Teachers, 3,000 Health Sector Workers and 1000 Police officers in 2019.
Pensioners will have their monthly pension payments increased to Le250,000 per month from the pittance that the previous APC Government was paying some Pensioners. Some Pensioners are still being paid as low as Le20,000 a month. This is inhuman! The Le250,000 minimum monthly payment to Pensioners will come into force in 2019. This will drastically improve their living conditions.
Salaries of civil servants, teachers, Police and Military in Grades 1 to 6 will increase by 10% in January 2019. Those in Grades 7 to 14 will increase by 5% effective January 2019.
The SLPP Government is paying for the procurement of fifty brand new school buses to ease transportation for school-going kids especially during rush hours. This is a big boost to President Bio’s free quality school education.
From next year, school facilities (buildings) constructed by the Government of Sierra Leone will be disability friendly. The Government will ensure that school facilities become disability friendly by the construction of ramps with rails at the entrances of school buildings and classrooms. This SLPP Government is disability friendly.
Government has established a new Unit in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development called NAMED (National Monitoring and Evaluation Department). This Unit will be responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of all public sector programmes and projects including donor funded projects.
It is also responsible for tracking and recording progress of implementation of all projects as well as National Development Plan using modern and appropriate technology.
To all intends and purposes, this budget (The Government Budget and Statement of Economic and Financial Policies for the Financial Year, 2019) is a People’s Centered Budget. It seeks to empower poor people and restore the dignity of Teachers, Nurses, health sector workers, Police and Military officers neglected and abandoned by the former APC Government of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
The New Direction is The Right Direction!
God bless President Bio, the Poor People’s President!