Liberian president pledges salary cut as economy stutters

President will divert some of his wages to a development fund and seek to allow foreign ownership of property

This development comes after Liberia's revenue fell last year in the country's bid to recover from the worst outbreak of Ebola yet.

Mr. Weah says the government’s income dropped 13 percent to $489.1 million in 2017 from 2016.

Addressing lawmakers in his first state-of-the-nation address he pledged to reduce his pay and benefits by a quarter. The President of Liberia earns about $100,000 yearly, meaning that Weah will relinquish about $25,000.

“The state of the economy that my administration has inherited leaves a lot to be desired. This is plain for all to see. We’re all affected by it.“Our economy is broken; our government is broke. Our currency is in free fall; inflation is rising.” Unemployment is at an unprecedented high and our foreign reserves are at an all-time ”low,” Mr. Weah said.

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.

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