MONROVIA: “The Liberian government is committed to ensuring that civil servants are of priority and that issue concerning their wellbeing, including prompt salaries payment is delivered monthly. We will also continue to support the Civil Servants Association of Liberia (CSAL) in its drive to forge for the wellbeing of its members.”
The above were the words of the Director General of the Civil Service Agency (CSA) of Liberia, James Thompson, on Friday, January 27, 2023, when he inducted into office, the newly elected leadership of the Civil Servants Association of Liberia (CSAL).
The induction ceremony was held at the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.
“While government recognizes the important role civil servants continue to play as it relates to their technical and professional services to every administration, civil servants should appreciate that this government has serious economic constraints with an annual budget of less than US$1billion,” Mr. Thompson said.
“I will not behave like a politician when it comes to my job; I will always tell civil servants the truth and the reality is that the current national budget of a little over US$700million cannot accommodate increment in civil servants salaries, otherwise all other services and pivotal programs as well as resources needed to run the government will not be available,” Mr. Thompson pointed out.
According to him, resources are limited and until government can be in the position to generate the required resources, it will be difficult to make increment in salaries.
He, at the same time, pointed out that Liberians are also contributing to the low generation of revenues. He told the gathering that several Liberians often reneged on the payment of taxes for real estate and other public services such as electricity and business taxes.
While describing civil servants as the ‘career officers’, he urged them to be independent doing away with political activities while performing their duties as civil servants.
“You are not supposed to be engaged in politicking, as doing so will compromise your independence because you supposed to be serving any government that comes to power, thus providing needed services to the Liberian people,” he cautioned.
The CSA Boss reminded government workers, mainly civil servants, that they are very important because politicians, as their bosses, are charged with the responsibility of making policies while they (politicians) rely on civil servants to translate such policies into actions that benefit the Liberian people.
Thompson assured the newly inducted leadership of the Civil Servants Association of Liberia (CSAL) of government’s full support through his agency.
He noted that in this new political dispensation under the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government, public sector workers have been given serious attention as it relates to their concerns and plights, and vowed to continue such positive engagements with them through their leadership.
The CSA boss announced the establishment of a Welfare Department at the CSA, saying this will open avenue for civil servants to have access to credit and LPA, while promising that his agency would collaborate with the CSAL leadership in the near future to implement some of the programs including the managing of insurance for civil servants.
Turning to the new leadership of the CSAL, he cautioned it to broaden its activities in all government Ministries, Agencies and Commissions (MAC) so that all civil servants can be aware of the workings of their leadership.
He suggested that communication from the CSAL leadership to all MACs should be channeled through the workers’ association of those MACs.
However, a proxy of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, who spoke on the theme: “Characteristic of a Good Leader,” identified a good leader as one who must possess and execute these four virtues.
Mr. Hilary Koffa (not related to Deputy Speaker Koffa), Chief of Office Staff of the Deputy Speaker identified the four virtues as integrity, dedication of responsibility, opening a channel of effective communication with other members of your leadership and realizing your short comings and sharing same with your subordinate colleagues for advice.
In his induction statement, the President of the CSAL Moibah K. Johnson, admonished government to consider placing the CSAL in the pending 2023 national budget.
Mr. Johnson noted that this would enable the association access to resources to purchase land for the construction of its national headquarters.
The CSAL leader, at the same time, appealed to government to provide medical insurance for civil servants as their current salaries is meager to cover group or personal insurance for them and their spouses.
The CSAL President, however, reiterated call for government to consider increment in civil servants salaries in the pending 2023 national budget.
Mr. Moibah Johnson who has been elected for the second five-year term also reiterated that disparity in civil servants salaries should be ameliorated as this situation continues to hinder productivity in government functionaries.
After expressing gratitude to Lofa County Senator, Cllr. Joseph Jallah, for his recent advocacy for increment in civil servants’ salaries, Mr. Johnson who disclosed that the resolution from the CSAL’s November 2022 Ganta’s Convention has been submitted to national government for intervention and that his administration will shortly meet the Speaker of the House of Representatives for support to implement provisions in the resolution while continuing its healthy engagement with central government through the CSA and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in the interest of civil servants.
Those inducted alongside Mr. Moibah K. Johnson include Madam Atraina Sirleaf/Vice President Administration, Rev. Edwina T.N. Carr/Vice President for Operations, Mr. Eric Blamo/VPRO and Mr. Joseph F. Farkollie Secretary General. Others were Sylvester Nyanti, Assistant Secretary General, Mr. Massayan Koikoi, Financial Secretary, Mrs. Tina Weegi/Treasurer, Mr. Emmanuel Quoqui, Parliamentarian and Ms. Henrietta Summerbee/ Chaplain.