-Rep Francis Dopoh Asserts
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
At long last, the most preserved secret regarding the salary and benefits of members of the House of Representatives have been revealed to the Liberian people and the world at large.
The salary and benefits of members of the House of Representatives continue to be the ‘most kept secret’ by members of that august body and their staffers on grounds that they wouldn’t allow anyone to reveal such to their constituents.
Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world with majority of the citizens living on less than one United States dollars a day.
Despite this high level of abject poverty in the country, lawmakers who are politically employed by the Liberian people are earning high salary and benefits, yet they claimed the amount is even less for their work as lawmakers.
Speaking to this paper recently in an interview, Rivergee electoral district three Representative Francis Dopoh maintained that looking at their works as lawmakers, what they are earning as lawmakers doesn’t look at entertainment, moral obligations among others; unless ministers and directors who have such benefits and salaries.
According to him, his salary and benefits along with his staffers is around US$15,000.00 plus. He said the staffers portion of the salary and benefits is around US$5,000.00. This, he said includes gasoline for some of them, allowance and salaries among others.
“If you go through the line ministries and agencies, you have something for entertainment, which is intended for guests. We as lawmakers, we have guests that come to us for major discussions, how do we provide them soft drinks and water that is not there, we have letters to send out, how do we do that. We have to provide gasoline for staffers, communications, we don’t have special scratch cards.
“The bulk benefits that you see which is US$7,450.00 monthly including vehicle maintaince. The line items you see in the budget is from central administration. If you compared our budget with the works we do, no other livelihood issues relating to our personal benefits,” he said.
Representative Dopoh also disclosed that members of the 53rd National Legislature used to receive the US$15,000.00 in bulk even on behalf of their staffers.
“But for the 54th National Legislature, individual staffers received their individual benefits. My benefits and staffer benefits including salaries is US$15,000.00 plus. Staffers portion is US$5,000.00 that includes gasoline for some of them and allowances,” he added.