MONROVIA: Employees of the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), on Thursday, November 10, 2022, staged a protest over salary deduction.
The employees demanded that the Ministry of Finance Development and Planning should carry out an immediate head count or fiscal audit to remove ghost names from the ministry’s payroll.
The MICAT employees said the Ministry of Finance Development and Planning deducted their salaries in the name of harmonization without taking into consideration qualification of employees.
The protesting MICAT employees also alleged that the Ministry of Finance Development and Planning included on the MICAT payroll people who are not in the employ of the ministry.
The Protest paralyzed normal working activities at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism. The protest lasted for several hours. It came to end when Mr. Del-Francis Wreh, Economic Analyst at the Ministry of Finance Development and Planning arrived at MICAT and convinced the protesting employees to stop their protest action.
Speaking to a team of journalists at the Ministry of Information, before the start of the protest, the Secretary General of the MICAT Workers Association, Jamuel Kullie, noted that the proposed head count or fiscal audit will enable the Finance Ministry to know the real MICAT employees and those who are not in the employ of the ministry but are getting salaries monthly.
He also lamented that there are salaries disparities at the ministry which, according to him, is killing the working condition of the ministry.
For example, he said directors and other employees are making more money than others, something which he said, is not right.
He asserted that Mr. Kwame Weeks, Director General of the Liberia News Agency (LINA), who holds a diploma gets US$ 4,392 monthly while his deputy who gets a certificate US$1,784.25.
He added that a high school graduate, Madam Rose V. Manford, who is a workshop organizer for LINA, is receiving US$ 411 Dollars. According to him, the position, workshop organizer, does not exist at the ministry.
The workers’ spokesman indicated that Mr. Terrence Sesay, former President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) who is currently Rural News Editor at LINA, is getting US$ 366 dollars.
He narrated that two female reporters of LINA, Hawah S.B Dolleh, and Fanta Keita, are earning US$ 503.25 dollars each monthly, while other reporters are getting between US $150 to 200 dollars monthly.
It is also indicated that Madam Agatha Thompson, Director of Communications Bureau at MICAT gets US$ 915 monthly while her Deputy, Roosevelt Z. Paye, gets US$ 272.65 monthly.
Others who are serving in Director Positions receive different amounts as salaries monthly.
He disclosed that Central Printing Incorporated Manager, Mr. Jerry Sumo, gets US$ 400 dollars while former soccer player of Liberia National Team, Lone Star, Christopher Wreh, is on the MICAT payroll is getting US$1,052.25 dollars monthly. It is not clear which position Wreh currently occupies at MICAT.
The Secretary General of the MICAT Workers Association Jamuel Kullie vowed that their protest action will continue this week until the Ministry of Finance Development and Planning carry out immediate heads-count or fiscal audit.
He disclosed that if nothing is done to correct the situation, the aggrieved MICAT employees will begin unspecified action against the officials of the ministry until the government can address their grievances. He did not say which actions will be taken against the MICAT Bosses.
However, Mr. Del-Francis Wreh, Economic Analyst at the Ministry of Finance Development and Planning who successfully prevailed on the aggrieved employees to halt their protest action. Mr. Wreh disclosed that he will today, November 14, 2022, meet with the MICAT employees to find amicable solution to their situation.
He assured the protesting MICAT employees that the government will look into their grievances with objectivity, and fairness for a durable solution to the protest situation.