9,000 out of 79,000 Civil Servants Suffered ‘Pay Cut’

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Minister Samuel Tweah has admitted to salary cut, but clarified that only 9,000 out of the 79,000 civil servants sustained cut.

— Finance Minister admits 

The Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Samuel Tweah, has admitted to salary cuts, but clarified that only 9,000 out of 79,000 civil servants were affected by the ‘pay cut’ decision.

Tweah’s admittance comes against the backdrop of concerns expressed by legislators about the suffering that civil servants are going through, due to “harmonization process” to reportedly ensure equity pay scale based on job classification of all civil servants as well as cut in the salaries of “senior government officials.”

In an open hearing in the Chamber of the House on Thursday, August 29, 2019, which marked the 56th day sitting, Tweah told lawmakers that 55,000 civil servants’ pay were not cut but remained constant, while US$15,000 was given in order to initiate a ‘pay rise’ for civil servants.

He said most civil servants received messages from local banks of a slice in their Liberian dollar pay, noting that it is 35% of their pay and that they will receive their remaining pay in US dollars, which will make up 65% when their US accounts are processed by their institutions and remitted to the ministry for subsequent pay after authentication.

Minister Tweah and his team, including technicians from the Civil Servants Agency (CSA), appeared before the full Plenary to address allegations of “civil servants’ salary payment” as of July 1, 2019, using the proposed monthly appropriations in the Draft and Unapproved FY 2019/2020 National Budget with specific reference to the 2019 salary payment of the employees of the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Tweah informed lawmakers that Section 17 of the Public Financial Management (PFM) law gave him the authority to spend US$47.5 million, which is 1/12th of the US$570 million of the 2018/2019 budget to pay civil servants and settle “domestic debts.”

House Banking and Currency chairman Dixon Seeboe (far left) and Ways, Means and Finance chairman Thomas Fallah (right) in consultation with Speaker Bhofal Chambers

“In the case where the Legislature is unable to approve the National Budget before the start of the fiscal year, the minister is authorized to collect revenues and approve expenditures in line with the proposed budget up to 1/12th of the Budget for the previous fiscal year. Expenditure of said 1/12th by the minister shall be included in the subsequent financial out turn,” he said.

He said that President George Weah is in the event of informing the House of Representatives and the Senate to authorize him to use additional funding upon the expense of the US$47.5 million to avoid a shutdown of the government.

Minister Tweah said that the “harmonization process will take full swing to affect every civil servant if both Houses approved it.”

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has mandated the MFDP and the CSA to continue the harmonization discussion with the Budget Committee for subsequent report to the full Plenary for either approval or rejection, through a motion proffered by Bong County District #5 Representative Edward Karfiah.

Margibi County District #4 Representative Ben Fofana proffered a motion for reconsideration against the motion that the MFDP and the CSA should continue the harmonization discussion with the Budget Committee, but later withdrew his motion for reconsideration.

Up to present, the Finance Ministry and the CSA are meeting the House of Representatives and the Senate separately on the passage of the harmonization process.

Sources said if the harmonization process is approved and completed, about US$8 million will be cut from government employees’ monthly take-home pay.

Sources further said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has contributed about US$60 million to the 2019/2020 Budget and, upon the approval and completion of the harmonization process, the IMF will gave US$200 million for the country’s reserve, which is unarguably emptied.

6 COMMENTS

  1. The Junior Finance Minister of African voodoo economics is on his way to receiving his first Nobel Peace Prize for voodoo economics from the IMF . For the alleged sum of two hundred million dollars. That is after one hundred and twenty-five million was stolen in the first six months of the regime coming to power. This so-called white man’s burden is responsible for where that country is right now. Destroy, the white man’s burden will fixed it . Steal, the white man’s burden will replaced it. Then why can’t the white man’s burden take it over ? Perhaps , the white man’s burden has already taken over. Whose idea is it for the harmonization ? The white man’s burden. Oh well. Enough said.

  2. Mr. James Davis,
    I respond to you by using my own individual thought.
    Voodoo economics was used by George H. W. Bush in early 80s. During a presidential run against Ronald Reagan, Mr. Bush thought that Reagan’s economic ideas went a little too far out of the American mainstream. But it’s an incontrovertible fact that politics makes strange bed fellows.

    As you may well know, despite the oddity of Reagan’s economic ideas, he won the Republican nomination. Strangely, the gentleman who accused Reagan of having introduced whimsical economic ideas became Reagan’s VP running mate. Reagan and Bush went on to defeat Carter and Walter Mondale of Minnesota. Indeed, politics makes strange bedfellows.

    I said the above to say this. Harmonization was an IMF imperative. Harmonization came about as a way of saving money for the government. Davis, don’t get me wrong. Harmonization has been painful. My younger brother has been one of the victims of harmonization. During the past three months, I helped him tremendously. This is not a brag, but rather a reality.

    During the Johnson-Sirleaf years, money was lavished beyond reason. Johnson-Sirleaf introduced a concept of salary and allowance. In a way, most, if not all civil servant employees got a salary and an allowance. When harmonization came in, it tried to wipe out the allowance concept. Also during the Johnson-Sirleaf years, there was plenty money in the country. Many foreign organizations had confidence in Johnson-Sirleaf. Example, ExxonMobil invested 1 billion US dollars for oil exploration. ExxonMobil is no longer here. Also UNMIL was here during her 12-year reign. UNMIL is no longer here. Let’s not forget that during the same time period, lawmakers of both Houses earned more money than their American, British, Canadian, German and French counterparts. The money tree is not bearing fruits in Liberia as it once did. That’s how poor management became the white man’s burden.
    If your lawmakers earn more money than your country can afford, it’s time to use the 6th sense… It’s called common sense!

  3. Let’s vote out any lawmaker who refuses to accept the $5,000.00 ( five thousand dollars) monthly salary in 2020 . Let terminate gas slips and telephone scratch cards. Let’s kick them out in 2020. Let’s make their salaries the ” Issue ” in 2020. I don’t understand why Mr. Fonati Koffa and other legislatures are building schools as they claim. Who will furnish and pay the teachers after you build these schools? Who will maintain these buildings and purchase instructional supplies and materials ? I see why they don’t want to approve the ” Decentralization Bill “. They are putting their fingers on the County development funds. The Superintendents and Local Governments have no power. I don’t blame them. I blame the pelople who vote them in office .

  4. Organizations and individuals tend to ignore or underestimate the enormousness of the impact that economic costs could make on a society because unlike accounting costs economic costs are implicit. However, no matter how dormant and implicit economic costs maybe, they are real and their effects could haunt any nation if its planners and leaders are not proactive. So it is with Liberia today.

    One key element that accompanies economic costs is what economists often refer to as, “the opportunity cost theory.” This theory simply explains opportunity costs as, “what one foregoes as the result of the decision that he takes.” In other words he/she cannot have his/her cake and eat it too.

    For example: I have just won the lottery, and one of my wishes had always been to send my child to college as soon as he/she graduates from high school. The prudent thing that I could do now is to invest that money into an educational account for his future. What would happen then if I became shortsighted and bought a bullet proof Mercedez with that money, instead? I have mortgaged the child’s college future for vainglory.

    My explanation is not meant to cast blame on the Weah’s administration neither on Ellen. However, Weah’s ascendancy to power is marred with some of the most incredible financial scandals ever to hit the nation since its existence – an unaccounted for 25 million dollars and the missing 16 billion dollars. These issues have generated high cynicism among both international observers and many Liberians at home.

    Why? They have happened under President Weah’s watch. And besides that, rumors have been circulating that the president has accumulated so much wealth in just a period of one year of being in office. The tempo to this corruption song rose to a higher beat when the president refused to have his assets published.

    And so here we go, the government is unable to meet its payroll obligations, hospitals are without medicines, roads are needing maintenance, the citizens’ incomes are not enough to meet the basic necessities of life, the corrupt legislators, who have become accustomed to milking the state coffers like money grows on trees are now fearing austerity and are fighting hard to thwart IMF efforts to get the country out of this quagmire.

    The president must understand that the world is watching. He cannot have his cake and eat it too. If he must spend on his reckless ambitions at the detriment of the nation’s taxpayers and foreign donors, the fallout is sure to haunt him including those innocent citizens, who are thriving to make a living daily, from hand to mouth.

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