… Says the the Better Future Foundation
In the face of mass protests and increasing disenchantment amongst civil servants across the country, the Better Future Foundation (BFF), proponent of Liberia Democracy Sustainability Platform, has called on the government to rethink the implementation of its “salary harmonization” exercise.
In a statement issued in Monrovia over the weekend, BFF described the ongoing “salary harmonization” in the public sector as “inherently flawed, provocative and unrealistic to respond to the country’s prevailing economic challenges, as well as the basic social and economic well-being of civil servants, particularly healthcare workers and teachers to meet their domestic and family needs.”
In the statement, BFF made specific reference to a healthcare professionals who, before the harmonization exercise, earned a monthly salary of L$28,000 and an allowance of US$110, but is now allotted, in line with the “harmonization scheme,” a total of US$91 monthly.
BFF also challenged the government to demonstrate commitment and sincerity to providing basic social services to its citizens, most of whom, the Foundation said, lack access to safe drinking water, education, electricity, and healthcare.
The statement, signed by BFF Founder/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Augustine S. Arkoi, said that the current trends in the country’s labor sector glaringly undermine and contradicts government’s commitment to upholding its obligations to both local and international labor protocols and conventions, such as providing decent wages to its workforce.
BFF believes that such action on the part of the government, constitutes abuse, and violation of the basic labor rights of healthcare workers and teachers.
The civil society advocacy group then urged the government to adopt a strategic and realistic approach or mechanism aimed at addressing the plights of the aggrieved civil servants.
BFF expressed disdain over reports of patients being abandoned, including pregnant women and children, in public hospitals and health centers, largely due to the government’s glaring default in paying the wages of healthcare workers.
The advocacy group maintains that such apparent failure by the government is not only a violation of Liberians’ right to basic healthcare, but also has the potential to undermine the nation’s economic growth and development, and concomitantly serves as a serious threat to Liberia’s peace and stability and the consolidation of its democracy.
“We appealed to the leadership of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia, and civil servants in general affected by the controversial salary harmonization scheme to remain constructively engaged with the government and other relevant stakeholders in finding an amicable resolution to the impasse created by the exercise,” the statement, signed by Mr. Arkoi, concluded.