‘Salary Payments Next February’, Senator Chie Assures

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Senate Pro Tempore, Albert T. Chie

…LRA’s July-November revenue projection falls by US$60M

President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Albert Tugbe Chie, has disclosed that the government is “working very hard” to stabilize payments of salaries by the end of February 2020 and that, “This special session of the Legislature is a catalyst for the achievement of the objective to pay salary arrears and move on with other development programs.

“We appeal to our people for understanding the situation of the salary delay. Even though the next few months will be difficult with delayed salary payments continuing up to the Christmas season, we can assure you that the government [will] pay all salaries by February, 2020,” the President Pro Tempore said on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 as he welcomed his colleagues back for yet another Special Extraordinary Session.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has reported that the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has fallen short of its projected revenue collection from July to November 15, 2019 by approximately US$60 million.

The Grand Kru County Senator told the more than 20 Senators present at the first day sitting on Tuesday that: “the consequence of this significant shortfall in revenue collection is manifested in delay in payment of salaries to public sector workers, and the multiplier effect: a sluggish overall economy.”

Citing the Central Bank of Liberia (CDL) report, Pro Tempore Chie, recalled that the the consequences of all of this ill-luck started manifesting itself by 2015 when the exchange rate started depreciating faster, and budget shortfalls became frequent; resulting to the borrowing from the reserves and donor funds at the CBL to meet up with financial obligations, such as salary payments; “this government, of which all of us are a part, continued that trend of borrowing for some time,” Chie reminded his colleagues.

The CBL, which he said should have provided macroeconomic stability and be a source of confidence in the banking sector in the country, has not lived up to expectations.

“In respect of all of these uncertainties, the government has resolved to enter the International Monetary Fund program, which has come with its own hard-to-swallow prescription of wage harmonization, keeping the national wage bill at an affordable level, and prudence in overall public sector spending,” he said.

During the current sitting, Chie informed his fellow lawmakers that they are expected to consider actions “which will help in the economic recovery process, such as completion of the authorization process for the printing of of a new family of currency; confirmation of the nominated Executive Governor and Deputy Governor of the CBL.”

When confirmed, Senator Chie said that the new CBL nominee will play significant role in the management of the financial situation of the country, “and finally, ratification of the key financial instruments, which will help revive the economy.”

The session continues today by midday, and it is expected that confirmation proceedings will likely kick off today.

11 COMMENTS

  1. To believe in what the Pro-temp is saying about salaries payment by February or on February 2020 , let him put his job on the line , should that failed to happen. Tell them that as Pro-temp , you will quit if salaries are not paid and on time. As a political coward , thought so.

  2. Our Dear Senators,

    First, thank you for enlightening us on the economic situation of the country. However, I have questions at the corner of my mouth and some observations to make.

    What can explain the shortfall of approximately 60 million dollars in revenue collection from July to November?
    I am not an economist, but could we attribute that to low foreign direct investment confidence consequential to your reckless and undemocratic declarations and incapacity?
    Do some retrospection and give the Liberian people an answer.

    During the Ellen’s administration, did the Liberian civil servants go many months without pay? If no, can you tell the Liberian people what is happening?

    Observations

    The Central Bank of Liberia is always cited in your incapacity to govern properly. Note that the primary function of any central bank is to control the money supply in the market, but not to add values. Note also that the Liberian dollar is guaranteed by the American Treasury for international trade. To this end, the latter has some saying in all your financial dealings and transactions.
    The CBL has cautioned on the printing of new banknotes. Anyone being named by you, whose confirmation we are anxiously looking forward to, will have to abide by the banking charter and internationally banking acceptable policies. If your actions are not in those lines, remember Trump is a no-nonsense man, the American Treasury will withdraw its signature. The consequences would be dire and dramatic for the Liberian economy and people.
    Learn to respect the rules of the game. Create jobs, add values in our economy.

    Mr. Chie also said the problem started from 2015. As an organized and well structed and respected political grouping, the Economic Team of CDC by then could have studied the situation and see how they can get by when at the helm of office. From what we hear every day, you guys do not even know the Liberian economy. Why keep raising your hands if you can’t provide the right answers?

    Mr. Chie is being tolerant and appealing to his colleagues to be patient because the guy in power is his guy or countryman or kinsman. Had it been, for example, Cummings, I can imagine the opening speech of this extraordinary session. Stop the hypocrisy! When you work, you expect to be paid at the end of the month. If the company is bankrupt, lay off and allow the workers to seek new jobs elsewhere.

    To conclude, there is no magic about this thing. Printing new banknotes will worsen the situation for Liberia. You need to stop beating your war drums and put your brain to work by creating decent jobs and stabilizing salaries. In so doing, you create foreign direct investment confidence.

    Good morning honorable senators!

  3. I agree with Petarus Dolo 100%. Let me add a little bit of pepper to the soup. Over the time even before this government came to power, corruption in every sector of government existed. This is one of the reasons we voted for change-positive change but it has turned out to be negative change for the worse.
    One serious contributing factor is the very LRA being mention and all the various taxe collecting units at our borders. If the money collected at those borders and from taxe payers across the country can reach the intended destination, these problems of budget short fall would have not existed. How in this world will someone who got a job as custom collector in less than a year build a house valued more than his/her five years salary combined? Besides their normal report, there is always monthly token sent to the tops to enable them maintain their places of lucretive assignments.
    Town trap is not for goat alone. Since the heads cannot declare their accerts, how will the under men be monitored. To conclude from my end, 75% of revenue collected in Liberia remains with the people that do the collection.

    • You are all correct on those assertions. My last job in Liberia was a Revenue Auditor at the Ministry of Finance and I know what can go on there. It is approximately 35% of revenue generated from taxpayers that can go into government account, the remaining 65% goes directly to the pockets of auditors, audit managers and directors. Each auditor at the LRA has in his/her possession not less then 3 houses.
      The question is, how do we expect government to raise revenue?
      How will they meet their targetted budget?

      How will civil servants be pay on time?

      There should be a realistic measure put into place to track revenue from taxpayers if government should get out of budget shortfalls. This issue I’m revealing is very serious and it comes from the top management level down to the revenue collectors. The taxpayers themselves are involved into fraudulently dubbing government by colliding with the LRA staffers.

  4. Peter M. Yormie

    This is certainly a brilliant critique Peter

    Findings from World Bank studies have proven your point over and over. Countries such as Liberia often remain failed states because of the condition you clearly explained in your short piece.

    Liberia’s economy can be described as a Presidential Economy wherein those who benefit from the lion’s share, which include the proceeds from the sales of the nation’s natural resources, are only the imperial president and his elites. Everyone else scrambles for the remains that may fall from the masters’ table.
    In other words, as long as the officials are enjoying from the rents paid to the national coffers by the few foreign companies and other foreign merchants, the status quo is okay for Weah and his CDC establishment.

    Again, as you brilliantly put it, this has been the implied arrangement for revenues collection for years. So, how can the government carry on its many development projects and pay its employees under such a dysfunctional, revenue generation scheme?

    The World Bank studies were right on the money. Countries cannot develop under such circumstances.

  5. As the Liberian is seeking everyday, country needs an experienced banking expert at the CBL, not one with bank-back office (clerical) experienced.

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