Liberia’s new president, former soccer star George Weah, pledged to cut his salary after the government’s revenue declined last year as the nation struggles to recover from the worst outbreak of Ebola yet, reports Bloomberg.
Weah will reduce his pay and benefits by a quarter, he told lawmakers Monday in the capital, Monrovia, in his first state-of-the-nation address since winning a runoff in December to take over as leader from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The government’s income dropped 13 percent to $489.1 million in 2017 from the year before, he said.
“The state of the economy that my administration has inherited leaves a lot to be desired,” he said. “This is plain for all to see. We’re all affected by it.”
After averaging economic growth of about 8 percent from 2006 to 2013, Liberia’s economic fortunes plummeted as a more than yearlong Ebola outbreak at its peak infected as many as 400 people a week and resulted in the deaths of more than 11,200 in the country and neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea. The West African nation’s gross domestic product contracted by 1.6 percent in 2016, according to World Bank data.
The government wants to implement a $3 billion infrastructure investment plan and will propose a constitutional amendment to allow the foreign ownership of land and property, Weah said.