Officers of the Liberian National Police (LNP) will in the next couple of days breathe a sigh of relief as Ecobank has finally agreed to pay the officers three months’ salary arrears following weeks of negotiation with the police hierarchy in Monrovia.
Police Director Chris Massaquoi made the disclosure of the ‘good news’ at a press conference held at the LNP headquarters on Capitol Hill in Monrovia yesterday.
The weeks of negotiations with Ecobank led to the delay in the disbursement of the 50% Liberian dollar component to officers, according to the LNP.
“The Administration met with the management of Ecobank and based on the sensitivity of this matter, Ecobank finally agreed to open a Liberian account for the LNP in three days. And as we speak, the LNP payroll has been signed today, July 20, and forwarded to Ecobank,” Director Massaquoi said.
He said all officers will begin receiving the Liberian dollar component from Ecobank, thus alleviating the hardship experienced over the last two months and bringing the matter to a close.
“In the second month of the fourth quarter (May) of the fiscal year of 2015/2016, the LNP submitted a 100% USD payroll to the Ministry of Finance to begin the payment of officers’ May 2016 salaries, but without prior notice, the Ministry rejected the LNP payroll and advised the LNP that the payroll submitted earlier be re-submitted with 50% in United States dollars and 50% in Liberian dollars,” Director Massaquoi explained.
He said after two weeks of negotiations, the Ministry again advised that the payroll must be re-submitted with 50% in USD and 50% in Liberian dollars in categories, on grounds that the Government of Liberia was not in the position to pay 100% in US dollars into the accounts of officers as was done in the past.
Again he said, the LNP prepared and re-submitted two separate payrolls, which took over three days to complete. Vouchers were being processed at the Finance Ministry, and the LNP continued its negotiations with the management of Ecobank on the way forward for the possible opening of LRD accounts for all officers, since indeed the bank already had USD accounts for them.
“Based upon the bank’s position that they could not open LRD salary accounts for the officers and having deposited the May 50% GOL checks issued by the MFDP, the LNP began exploring alternative means of payment, and finally decided to make payments through checks against the
Liberian dollar account, while the 50% USD was being credited to the officers’ USD salary accounts,” he said.
But as we speak, he said, significant numbers of officers have received 50% of their LRD salary in checks and the process will soon be completed for the month of May, 2016.
He said all efforts exerted by the LNP Administration earlier to ensure that the bank open the LRD accounts for the officers did not materialize.
He said owing to the fact that the LNP maintained that it did not have LRD accounts for its officers, the LNP Administration met with the Ecobank management to open the officers’ LRD accounts. At that meeting in May, the Ecobank refused to oblige on the grounds that the fiscal measures by the Ministry of Finance were temporary and could cause the bank additional expense to have accounts maintained.
He said, “Given the strength of the LNP, the nationwide deployment and the need to ensure that they remain at their various posts, the administration initiated a negotiation with the Finance Ministry to see the need to avoid making payments through other means, and realized that any other option would cause a delay in their salary payment.”
He said prior to the issuance of these checks, the LNP administration, considering the difficulties in writing individual checks for more than six thousand officers, encouraged all officers to open individual LRD accounts at either Ecobank, LBDI or IB for the possible remittance of their salaries against the ratio (30:70) issued by the MFDP for June 2016, wherein 30% USD goes into the officers account while 70% LRD is to be credited to the anticipated accounts.