The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel Tweah, has informed the Senate that the Government “does not lack money to pay salaries as is being perceived by some members of the public.”
Tweah while under intense grilling under the Senate gavel, which lasted for over three hours yesterday, noted that that there were some “technical glitches in the payment of salaries to civil servants for October but paying of civil servants’ salaries has commenced.”
The minister noted that based on the mandate of President George Weah, all salaries for November will be paid on or before the 29th, while December salaries will be paid on or before December 15, respectively.
In recent weeks, Tweah has come under mounting pressure from the judiciary, legislature, and civil servants over delays in payments of salaries and benefits.
The Supreme Court went as far as placing the Minister on a summoned bench to show cause for delay in salary payment to members of the Judiciary Branch.
But facing the sustained barrage of questions, Tweah assured that the government is committed to not owing any arrears for civil servants across the Country.
He also tried to clarify that he has never harbored or conceived the intention to disrespect the authority of the Senate or the Legislature as a whole.
“On the contrary, I will always relish the opportunity to appear before the Senate committee or plenary.”
He further that all legacy payments for the Social Development Funds will be made in the 2023 budget year as Senators expressed deep dissatisfaction over the Minister’s action of not paying money owed to each county from companies operating in its localities.
Meanwhile, following a lengthy deliberation had apologized for not honoring the invitation of the Senate which, according to him, was “due to him not being in the country at the time.”
He then offered them reassurances of his respect and willingness to appear at any time when needed before the Senate for the overall growth of the country.
Tweah apologized in response to the Senate contempt charge against him, for obstructing legislative function. He was then summoned to state why he should not be held in contempt by the Senate for his failure to appear before that body after several citations.
Based on the apology, Senate Pro Tempore, Albert T. Chie said the leadership of the august body will take charge of the Contempt charge against the minister and report to the full Plenary in their next sitting, while the Minister remains under oath to reappear on December 1.
The next appearance is to discuss other pressing national issues, including the ongoing national population and housing census and the RIA road project, amongst others.
Concerning the protest action by state prosecutors and public defenders as raised by the Senate, Tweah has clarified that the Ministry is not aware of any delay in salary to public defenders in the judiciary, except for vehicles requested and salary increment which he assured could be handled in the Fiscal Year 2023 National Budget.