In 2016 the huge and unsustainable cost of government salaries, the biggest in Sierra Leone's recent history, accounts for 62.7% of domestic revenue or 7.8% of GDP in that same year.
The wage bill for the small and poor West African nation of 7 million people amounted to Le 932 billion (USD 121 million) and was projected to remain within the 2017 yearly budget of Le 1.83 billion (USD 234 million).
Minister of Finance, Momodu Lamin Kargbo, confesses that they run a very large civil service but promises that they are currently working on it.
“All of a sudden the payroll has become a very serious matter in government finances. It consumes over 65% of the domestic generated revenue. So if it is not addressed, it will only grow and become very challenging.”
The EU and the government have been working together in reforming the public service, culminating in a first phase of right-sizing in early 2017.
In the Fiscal Strategy Statement 2018 (FSS), it stated that a key feature of public expenditure management is to maintain a clean Government payroll. The aim is to keep the wage bill at a sustainable level of 6% of GDP from 2018 onwards, from 6.3% of GDP in 2017.
Read the full story on Awoko, OTI’s partner media outlet.