… Says protest will not help the agency
The Commissioner-General of Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Thomas Doe Nah has called on employees of the entity to abandon any plans to organize a “go slow” action, stressing that without the employees the LRA will not be able to collect revenue.
“We are collecting the money, and we are not taking pay on time. You think we are supposed to be marching and doing all kinds of things? Because we are the ones the country is relying on,” Mr. Doe-Nah said.
He also cautioned employees, who are reportedly angry over salary cuts, to rethink their decision, “because it is our resilience on which the country will build its power to be transformed.”
Mr. Doe-Nah, who spoke on Thursday, October 17, at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism regular press briefing in Monrovia, said that information circulating on and off social media that the LRA employees’ salaries are not being paid was done by an individual outside the institution.
“You know this morning (yesterday), we went into our place; somebody throw something saying things about us not paying our workers on time, and everyone started to ask me. So I said if the person was brave enough that he/she was speaking the truth, they will show themselves up in public,” Mr. Doe-Nah said.
At the LRA, the bulletin reads: “Dear Colleagues, we write with heavy hearts and dissatisfaction of the fact that our hard-earned salaries that we worked for is being cut on a regular basis. Due to the quietude of our voices as peaceful employees having great respect for our jobs and position, do not mean that we should continue to allow this situation of pay cut to keep affecting us.
So, we are asking everyone in the employ of the LRA from the Monrovia Headquarters, rural and urban areas, Freeport, Liberia Business Registry, and the Roberts International Airport to join us on Monday, October 21, 2019, to put all pens, papers, cars and computers down as we carry on a ‘go slow’ and wait for our concerns to be addressed and met by the rightful authority.”
Though the authenticity of the bulletin had not been established up to press time, Mr. Doe-Nah admitted that the country was in a “difficult financial situation.”
He at the same time called on the employees to remain strong for the benefit of all other public institutions in the country.
“We are the soldiers that will have to transform the country; everybody will strike, but we have to be standing because, if we fall, everybody will fall,” Mr. Doe-Nah said.
On Friday, October 18, this newspaper reported that the LRA may likely experience an unprecedented collapse if plans by employees to stage a go-slow action against the recently introduced “salary harmonization,” which they say will badly affect their income, goes into effect.
The LRA, as government’s tax collector, is expected to help raise over US$575 million for the 2019/2020 national budget that was recently passed by the Legislature. However, collection efforts are yet to gather steam as employees have already distributed “circulars” calling for a go-slow action beginning Monday, October 21, 2019.
The entity’s vision is to be a professional revenue administrator adhering to international standards as well as to serve as a model for revenue collection and service delivery. The mission is to professionally, fairly, transparently and effectively collect lawful revenues as well as facilitate legitimate trade and social protection for the people of Liberia. But with the downward spiral of the country’s economy, civil servants, including those in the security sector, are resolved to protest in order for their concerns to be addressed.