By: Varney Dukuly
MONROVIA: Dissatisfaction is mounting among thousands of public sector employees owing to what they called the prolonged delay in the payment of their salaries by the Government of Liberia (GOL).
Moibah Johnson, President of the Civil Servant Association of Liberia confirmed that public sector employees are yet to receive their three month salaries owed them by government.
“We thought as we move towards the 2023 elections, the government would have been proactive in the payment of our salaries but since three months passed, we have been experiencing delay in the payment of our salaries,” Johnson told reporters.
“You have to do everything humanly possible to pay us regularly.” He said the salaries of civil servants are extremely small to cater to the well-being of their respective families monthly, and as such, the government should be proactive in payment.
Incumbent President George Weah, in January of this year, said his administration was committed to enhancing the welfare of government workers.
“I have been informed that some 15,000 government workers still make below the minimum wage of $150 US dollars, as mandated by the Decent Work Act. This is completely unacceptable,” said the President during his Final State of the Nation Address in his first term.
But, the Civil Servants Association disclosed that its members are yet to feel the benefits of President Weah’s declaration.
The government has declared victory over poverty, but some analysts are of the view that most citizens across the country are faced with economic difficulties.
The Association said, among other things that prolonged delay in the payment of their salaries has created many constraints for them in meeting their daily needs.
“It has become embarrassing for us, and so, we are only asking our government to be much more proactive,” added Johnson as he questions the cause of the delay.
“I personally placed calls to Janga Kowo, the Liberia’s Comptroller General, and he said, we are working to see how best we can pay civil servants,” Mr. Johnson disclosed.
Some civil servants have been wondering as to how a government that claimed to have lifted one million people out of poverty would be facing issues of salary delay, among others, for public sector employees.
President Weah has declared that his administration has done so well for the nation and its people in the course of six years.
The government denied any wrong doing in its change for hope agenda, which it terms as “Pro-Poor Agenda.”
“No government worker should make below the minimum wage mandated by law. I have therefore directed that, as part of the 2023 budget, the wages for all such workers be raised at or above the minimum wage. I am informed that the cost to achieving this is estimated at US$6 million annually. And so Mr. Speaker, Mr. President Pro-Tempore and members of the 54th Legislature, as we accelerate the discussion for the 2023 National budget, I urge you to make the securing of this amount of $6 million US dollars for these 15, 000 workers one of your highest priorities. I look forward to engaging you further on this,” said President Weah in January this year.
Earlier this week, Johnson said, civil servants were initially happy over the statement from the President, calling for increment but said since the pronouncement, there has been repeated delay in salaries payment by the government.
According to him, the delay in income for Civil Servants in Liberia has rendered than less important to society largely because they are unable to provide for their families amid skyrocketing prices of basic commodities.