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Legislators Are ‘Buttering’ Their Own Bread With Over US$65M, – Ambassador McCarthy Discloses

House Speaker, Bhofal Chambers and Senate Pro-Temporal Albert Chie

United States Ambassador accredited to Liberia, H.E. Michael McCarthy has once again reminded the ordinary Liberian people about the behaviors of their lawmakers who he alleged allocating to themselves over US$65 Million in 2022 for salaries operations; buttering their own bread while hospitals are left isolated,

The tough talking U.S. Envoy in his statement also disclosed that the 30 senators and the 73 representatives spent sixty-five million U.S. dollars feathering their own nests, noting that “It was striking that the further I went from Monrovia, the more elaborate and explicit were the reasons given for the lack of funding from the central government”.

“Oh, it is challenging for the government these days.” “Oh, Putin’s war has made everything more difficult.” “Prices have dried up the budgets.” “You donor partners must fill the gaps.” I wonder if these people are aware that, much to their credit, the LRA has surpassed projections and increased revenues for the past four years, climbing from US$435,682 million in 2019 to US$605,005 million in 2022? I suspect the country folk don’t know that the Liberian economy grew by 3.7% in 2022”.

“We withhold 25% of the salaries of our Liberian employees at the Residence and at the Embassy to pay their legally mandated income tax to the LRA. Why are the much better-paid representatives and senators not paying a full 25% of their salaries? Why are legislators and ministers, those living on the top of the heap, given annual duty-free imports that deny the LRA much-needed additional revenue? Is there any reason other than the perverted version of the Golden Rule – “those that have the gold make the rules”? He pondered.

Ambassador McCarthy in his statement further noted, “U.S. taxpayers spend around US$60 million a year on health care in Liberia, and another US$23 million on education. The same legislature that spent US$65 million on itself in 2022 appropriated around US$7.1 million for grants and subsidies to county health facilities and US$2.76 million for operations at basic and secondary education (although, as we saw, that doesn’t mean the funds reached their intended destinations). But if the legislature could just appropriate an additional US$10 million a year to primary education (for a country that is tied in

last place for average days of school attendance), and an additional US$10 million a year for county hospitals, even the greatest cynics concede that it would make a big difference.

Just US$500,000 each per year of actual maintenance (not make-believe budgeted funds) on four unpaved roads (Zorzor – Voinjama; Zwedru – Fishtown; Greenville – Barclayville City; and Greenville – Buchanan) would dramatically improve the lives of more than a million of Liberia’s poorest citizens, lowering food costs, revolutionizing farm to market access, and eliminating seasonal shortages of life-saving medicines and equipment. The legislature would still have US$43 million a year to somehow get by. Anyone interested in a pro-poor agenda? He also asked

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