‘Salary Payments Next February’, Senator Chie Assures

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.

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