Beginning today’s evening, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate will be going to Kakata, Margibi County for a two-day retreat to discuss issues of national concern.
The retreat is expected to bring 180 people, including the President, Vice President, 72 members of the House of Representatives; 29 Senators and about 79 Cabinet members to include advisers to the President.
President George Weah, in separate communications to the House of Representatives and the Senate, which were read concomitantly in both chambers on Tuesday, August 13, 2019, invited members of the 54th Legislature for a retreat, which will be formally held from Friday, August 16 through Saturday, August 17, 2019.
According to sources, the retreat is expected to center largely on the Government’s Wage Bill Harmonization Process, including the downward adjustments (cut) in civil servants’ salaries and allowances. The Wage Bill Harmonization is to combine the separate payments of salaries, allowances, petroleum, scratch cards and other benefits of public officials into one payment, which will be paid in both currency with 65% in United States Dollars and 35% in Liberian dollars.
Upon the completion of the harmonization, both payrolls in US dollars and Liberian dollars will be singly managed and controlled by the Civil Service Agency (CSA) instead of the former undertaking wherein which CSA only handles the Liberian dollars payroll, while spending entities themselves handle their respective US dollars component of the payroll.
At the heels of the retreat, the Executive through the CSA along with the Government’s Wage Bill Harmonization Team, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, the Comptroller and Accountant General, and the Director General of the Internal Audit Agency, held a two-day interactive discussions with the House of Representatives on Monday and Wednesday, August 12 and 14 respectively.
The discussions, which were held in closed-door session on the 1st and 2nd Special Sitting of the House, was about ‘Adjustments’ contained in the CSA’s issued Circular Memorandum, as well as the attached ‘Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs),’ and ‘Fact Sheet Information’ to all spending entities of the government relative to the Wage Bill Harmonization Process and Outcome focusing on the Potential Policy Impact and Implications.
Reliable sources said the focus on the House of Representatives is aimed for members of the Lower House to commit themselves to adjustments in pay like the Senate, who have committed two weeks ago.
Payment after Harmonization
The Daily Observer has reliably gathered that payments for civil servants as of July 2019 will only be disbursed upon the conclusion of the Government Wage Bill Harmonization Process.
The 2019/2020 Budget begins July 1, 2019 and ends June 30, 2020, while the Harmonization Process, as well as the Adjustment in Pay will kickoff the payment of civil servants salaries.
This newspaper also gathered that civil servants will be paid for July upon the conclusion of the Wage Bill Harmonization Process while the continuation of the scrutiny of the 2019/2020 Fiscal Budget, which might pass through both Houses in September, and subsequently approved by the President.