More than 300 employees of both the former Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs have applied for the ‘voluntary dismissal cash envelopes’, for fear of not being hired in the ongoing recruitment exercise of the newly merged “Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).”
According to reports, the annoyed and anxious employees were seen queueing for the application forms for what is termed as the Voluntary Separation Package (VSP), which were being issued from the 1st to the 12th December.
Two male employees, who requested not to be named, said a majority of effected staff was interested in the VSP offer because that severance package was more than the CSA Severance Package for those who applied for positions and do not get selected, they claimed.
They said the amount of US$7,500 is allocated for all staff that have earned a minimum of a college degree, and US$5,000 for all staff who do not have a college degree. According to the two men, these amounts are higher than the CSA Severance Package, details of which they did not disclose.
Unconfirmed reports say the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Liberia has urged the MFDP to “reasonably increase the dismissal package” to be commensurate with the years of service of the employees, and also to consider the state of the country’s economy.
It may be recalled that the MFDP Minister, Mr. Amara Konneh, as of Monday, December 1, launched the VSP for all employees who are not interested or are afraid to reapply for positions in the ongoing recruitment exercises for the newly merged Ministry.
Accordingly, the VSP was set up to ensure the fulfillment of the goal of the “Organogram” of the Ministry which stipulates the employment of a total of 675 personnel at the end of the recruitment process in February 2015.
The Organogram is part of the plan of the MFDP to recruit civil servants for the newly merged Ministry.
A memorandum from Minister Konneh, dated November 18, 2014, with the objective of Transitional Updates, says the VSP being offered was still in the making.
“As was indicated then and now reiterated, the VSP is simply an offer of first choice to all staff and no staff is compelled to take up this offer. All staff still interested can contact the Transition Information Center on the ground floor of MFDP,” the memo said.
It added: “All staffs are encouraged to participate in the internal recruitment process for the various positions as they are advertised. Staff that apply for positions and do not get selected will only benefit from the CSA Severance Package.”
When contacted, the Media Services Officer at the MFDP, Patience Senbeni, declined to comment but referred our reporter to the Human Resource Manager, Madam Comfort E. Elliot.
“The best place to get information on the Voluntary Separation Package is the Human Resource Department,” Ms. Senbeni said.
Madam Elliot, on being contacted, also declined to comment, and referred our reporter to the Coordinator of the Transitional Information Center, Mrs. Findley.
But Madam Elliot confirmed receiving the last package of the applicants over the weekend.
“I am not clothed with the authority to give you the exact number of persons who applied, but I can say we received the last package of our applicants on Friday,” Director Elliot said. “You can direct that question to the Transitional Information Center on the ground (floor),” Madam Elliot told our reporter.
Interestingly, when our reporter went to Mrs. Findley, she, too, directed our reporter back to Madam Elliot or the Deputy Minister for Administration, Mr. Edward Eesiah.
However, re-contacting Madam Elliot as well as Deputy Minister Esiah proved futile over the weekend on the excuse that they were in “meetings.”
Meanwhile, 25 new directors have already been recruited by the MFDP as part of its hiring process. The directors recently underwent training at the Liberia Institution of Professional Administration (LIPA).
One of the recruits for Media Services, Zoegar Q. Jaynes, a former journalist, died a few weeks ago.
The hiring of Assistant Directors and Supervisors are expected to be released soon, followed by senior officers, economists, analysts and other staff at various levels.