Salary “Harmonization” Ordered Halted, Reversed

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Senators call Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah's salary harmonization plan unconstitutional.

— Senate calls MFDP action a serious national security threat

The Liberian Senate after a heated debate, has voted to call a halt to what they described as “constitutional transgression” — the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning’s action of “salaries harmonization,” and instead reverse the process and those affected be reimbursed.

The Senate vote came as a result of a communication from Gbarpolu County Senator Armah Zolu Jallah, requesting plenary to have the MFDP submit the Government’s “Salary Harmonization Plan”, inclusive of the three branches of the Government and autonomous agencies. The vote also followed another letter from Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais, complaining of students protest actions over a go-slow action by teachers at the Tubman University in Harper for salary payment.

“While on my feet, I move… that this plenary communicate with the Executive, informing it of the transgression it has done and order that it stops all salary payments until the 2019/2020 national budget is passed and, if possible, reverse what they have done; until the Legislature completes the process on the budget that will be deemed passed,” said Bong County Senator Henry W. Yallah, proffering a motion.

Kicking off the debate on Tuesday, a member of the Senate Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget, Bomi County Senator Morris G. Saytumah briefly informed plenary that, even if there is any harmonization plan, it is not stressed as far as private agency. “As far as I am concerned from us on the Ways and Means, we have got no plan or policy coming to us to talk about harmonization of salary and compensation of Liberian employees; there aren’t any instruments that tells us that and, as to whether arbitrary harmonization has been done, I don’t know about it.”

As usual, firebrand Senator Oscar Cooper requested that both the heads of the MFDP and Civil Service Agency be cited to appear before plenary, and asked whether they indeed have a harmonization structure policy that they can present to the Senate and the Legislature.

“We are getting communications from our constituents, who are doctors as professional people who are supposed to receive US$1,999, and they have displayed their bank account statements, which showed they received US$254.00. So this is happening whether you know about it or not,” Senator Cooper intimated.

River Cess Senator Dallas Gueh agreed that any decision taken to arbitrarily cut salaries or harmonize salaries without legislative approval “is a violation of the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Law, which states that when the budget has not yet passed one-twelfth of the previous budget be implemented.”

Grand Gedeh County Senator Marshall Dennis, for his part, called for prompt action on the salary harmonization; “information is coming from sources to us that salaries for July are being badly cut. So, if we are not careful, a lot of noise is going to be around here. It is better that we put our feet down now and start to investigate.”

Referencing teachers’ salary cut in her constituency, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence said the discussion should be beyond just the policy and planning, “because I know there are teachers in my constituency who met with me and some of them were making LRD18,000 and received LRD6,000. So I think there should be an immediate motion to call our financial team here to prove to us that this is not happening, and if it’s happening what action they are taking immediately.”

“Considering the noise of salary cut, we should not procrastinate, I think the leadership of the Senate should now communicate with the President to advise him that he should instruct his Finance Minister to put a halt to any cut in civil servants’ salaries until that policy document can be made available,” Grand Gedeh County Senator Alphonso Gaye warned.

“There is nowhere in the world where the Ministry of Finance proceeds to execute a budget that has never been approved by the Legislature, this is the only place I am seeing it. What is happening now only takes place in a banana republic. The laws are there that you cannot execute a budget until is passed by the Legislature, but yet our budget is been executed based on proposal, no approval yet. We must put our feet down or else this country will break down,” outspoken Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay warned.

Speaking as a legal mind, Grand Cape Mount County ranking Senator H. Varney Sherman said the Constitution is clear that the Legislature is responsible for appropriation that no government agency, other than the Legislature, has that authority. “And ladies and gentlemen, we are running the risk, an individual that may be affected by this salary reduction could go to the Supreme Court on the writ of prohibition, only that the Ministry of Finance or whoever he is is violating the Constitution, because the Legislature has not made the appropriation. Instead of calling people here, Pro Temp and Speaker, tell the Minister of Finance, [to not] embarrass us; wait until the appropriation is made.”

Other Senators who spoke on the issue also decried the action by the Ministry of Finance.

18 COMMENTS

  1. How can you pay a teacher $28.00 a month as if we are in 1926? Education is the key to development. Teachers must be in the forefront of national development. Nurses and doctors help to keep our people healthy. We can’t overlook these key areas folks.. Y’all try cook with gas mehn!!

  2. I think it will be good if the salary of teacher can be more than the salary of any body in the country because these day our teachers suffer a lot

  3. I am not force to be a teacher if things remain like this.Am living in Monrovia going to work in the bush, can 6,000.00LDsupport me and my family?I am not going to any job site comes the 2of September 2019.Teachers are the least pay people why should this so called salary harmonization comes to us instead of the big-big people. No money, no work.

    • Prince M.Zeikan – Based on your poor writing skills, you’re absolutely not qualified to be a teacher, sir. I don’t mean this as an insult but I must be candid. You should find another line of work but teaching kids when you can’t write a proper sentence or paragraph is very bad.

  4. Will the executive dig in its heels and continue with the salary cut measure? I don’t think they will. But what if, just what if they dig in????????????????????

  5. So what is the proposal from the Legislature to solve the issue of huge (some analysis has it at 60) percentage of budget going to salaries and benefits? The Executive is suggesting a level below 50 percent (the proposed budget could be around 40 percent). There is a salary cap policy in the Executive (I think $6,500 or there about). The Legislature insists on there $15,000 per month which is more than a US representative’s salary.

    Anytime a policy is targeting their abnormal salaries and benefits they create all kinds of rationale to abort it.

    The Executive has proposed a budget that will bring salaries and benefits to 40 percent of budget. Please honorable Legislatures make us a counter proposal that will produce similar effect. You are the appropriation body. Take your pencils, tear the budget apart and suture it. It is your duty and it is how public budgeting works. To just say no is derogation of your duty. This harmonization has been around for months and the Legislature should have its own plans. Now being your plans on the table.I

    Don’t just say no, make a proposal.

    • my proposal is:

      since Liberia has so much money that the president can build houses in few months, the president should not get pay for 2 – 3 years, the law makers should take home $2500 – $3000 monthly. finance minister and all civil servant heads salary be displaced and take not home more than USD $1000. But do not touch Teachers and Ordinary civil servant salary. these are the people that are doing the job for Liberians, teachers, the nurses, and doctors.

      if there is no money, where did weah take money from to build houses in few months. it means he has money and Liberians don’t need money from out side. they have a Billionaire president who had so much money, never build a house for the 2-3yrs he was a senator, nor build houses when he was World Best, African best, European best, but to build all those houses in few months as president; while he or Liberians go out begging for money for things the money used to build weah house can be use for.

      Oh how stupid it is to build all those houses in a poor country Like Liberia as a President and think you will go out side to buy for support to help Liberian and outside people give to you. YOU ARE COMPOUND FOOL!!!!. people are only giving money to Liberia because they will get profit in return not because Liberians need it. they are not fools to see a billionaire like weah who can build so many houses in less than six months and give him money. they will be supporting him to get richer than they are while the poor suffer.

      but all this will come to an
      end very soon by God’s help.

      may God save my mother land Liberia.

  6. Phil,
    Calm down a little bit buddy. Are you upset at Zeikan?

    On the upside, I agree with you 101%! Since my arrival, I have met a cadre of interesting people, some of whom are teachers. What I am finding out is that some teachers are not supposed to teach. In some cases, it’s like a blind man who leads a bunch of blind people. Our educational system needs a complete overhaul.

    Phil, we have problems in Liberia. As shameful as it is, I will say it. I have a relative who was hired as a principal of a public school somewhere in one of the 15 counties. (Thanks be to God, he doesn’t have my family name. No reader can look him up.) This guy is incompetent. He shouldn’t be a principal or a teacher. Jesus, no Gee! Look man, some college graduates I chat with do not impress me at all.

    Take a listen:
    Me…..What is your name?
    Boy:…. My name Amo.
    Me:…… No. Say, “my name is Amo”.

    Me:.. .. Where are you from Amo?
    Boy:….. I from Cape county.

    (This is an 8th grade student) I am not picking on anyone from Cape Mount. Any 8th grader who hails from Maryland county can easily speak like Amo.

    I wonder where we went wrong Phil? Did our educational system go down the tube because of the 14-year war? Could be. But, it’s been almost 13 years after the fact!

    What I am being told is that all students do not have their full set of textbooks. Also, all teachers do not have their full set of teacher edition textbooks.

    The most tricky area:
    Some teachers are reluctant to teach because they’re underpaid. It is also true that some teachers are incompetent. But while money is being looked for by the government, some people, especially the lawmakers are earning over $120,000 per year. This is a travesty.

    Some civil servant employees like teachers and others aren’t performing their assigned duties. They’re very discouraged.

  7. no, please let the government or Weah pay teachers, USD 10 or USD5 a month!!! I beg you all in the name of God. it has just started. when chicken white it is white. no one goes through school process and graduated the right way will devalue others who are going and trying to educate others. this is not a mistake for the executive to cut educated or educating people salary. Ellen increased teachers salary up to USD 350 because she knew what it means to educate people. our uncle weah is the opposite, he only cover up to pay fees for people because he wanted to get state power ( a nature of every Liberian maybe including myself which I pray God will not cause me not to value my and others education or others educating others).

    My people Weah did not go to school the right way, he does not know what it means to go there or teach in the class room. besides it is the same people who elected him meaning there is no need to go to school or teach. so let the teacher beg cold water and sell instead of teaching or go play football. I am sorry for our country, Weah and his executive are yet to do more. just watch many schools may not open next month, some may open and close, others will close and not open for a very long time.

    as for the senators and representatives, they are all the same like the executive, they take 10,000 to 15,000 monthly and do nothing but to talk, and wait for the president to say and they follow.( blind leading it’s the semi-blind man equal failure with no change in the Lives of ordinary Liberians because they can not see them nor their suffering);

    day by day teachers meet students or Liberians one on one to make change in their lives and their pay are been cut form almost USD , 125, 275 or 350 to now USD 25. woooooo its 10,000USD to 25USD. what a shame on not only the executive but the law makers. the finance minister should be suspended for implementing such without the approval of the lawmakers. in fact Like, he did not go to school the right way or not teach taught him in school. I was teaching GBCC and was been paid USD350, instead of going up now it been reduced. things and prices in Liberia are going down or getting better so the govt decreasing salary. what a shame.

    this is not partisan thing nor executive thing nor lawmakers thing, it is about the common Liberian who can’t afford private school fees.

    the teachers are not responsible for the budget making or bad economic, they are not building houses in less than six months been a teacher. where he took the money from to build if there is not money. do you think the USA and other countries are stupid? they felt weah would have but it is worst, one day they will find the true Liberian to bring change to the country. God will send the rightful leaders for Liberia.

    thank God weah is using his CDC name to do his political game and not any tribe name, I hope people will not relate this kind of behavior to any tribe like before the war. because if weah is a kru man, the kru people are Christians noted for supporting education, and very peaceful. weah is a direct opposite of the kru or kranh or grebo people. he is a shame and a disgrace. he should change his name from weah to some other bush name, he is disgracing Christianity, his name, Liberians too much.

    may God save my Mother land Liberia.

  8. Kae,
    Every sentence must begin with a capital letter. Try not to forget that. Okay, Kae?

    Say you, “no, please let the government or Weah pay teachers, USD 10 or USD 5 a month!!!”.

    Kae, what do you mean by that? Can you and your family survive on either of the stipulated amount above? Come on Kae. Get serious.

    You blatantly tell your readers that Weah didn’t go to school the right way, (second paragraph).

    Let’s say for purposes of this discussion that you went to school, I won’t argue whether it’s the right way or not. However, what professional advice do you have for Weah?

  9. The harmonization budget is the roadmap of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development by CDC, in building a middle-class society in that country. Take it or leave it.

  10. Well, this salary harmonization project will be the nail in the coffin for CDC. It’s easy to give but very difficult to take back, so there will be a lot of extremely unhappy people with “Jorweah” and his CDC. The party will pay a big price at the ballot box in 2020 and beyond. It’s a blessing for the opposition.

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