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A Bloated Payroll Looms Amid Tight National Budget

A Bloated Payroll Looms Amid Tight National Budget

IT IS BECOMING VERY VERY clear that the next fiscal, national budget might be bloated as a result of the manner in which the ruling party — Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) — is vigorously trying to recruit their partisans on the national payroll.

THE INDICATIONS ARE THAT they are not going to stop in breaking all the rules in their quest to secure jobs for their partisans, at the detriment of the larger society, including bona fide civil servants.

SHOULD THEY CONTINUE IN this path, President George Manneh Weah’s administration risks putting itself in a budget shortfall with the addition of several hundred new names to the payroll.

UP TO JANUARY 2018, THE GOVERNMENT had to raise US$296 million a year to service payrolls for all ministries, agencies and commissions, excluding public corporations. The total recurrent expenditure hovered around US$405 million. LAST MARCH, THE RECAST budget puts salary alone at US$309.4 million! Recurrent expenditure, including salary, is almost at US$500 million of a budget of US$536 million; this means that the CDC-led government is only spending US$36 million on capital investment.

AS IF THIS IS NOT BAD ENOUGH, there are lists circulating the internet in Liberia purportedly under the signature of the Chairman of CDC, Mr. Mulbah Morlu.

MORLU IS ALLEGEDLY INSTRUCTING heads of some government agencies, including the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC), to employ some of the personalities on the lists. Of course, there are pieces of evidence that those folks are now being absorbed at National Transit Authority (NTA), National Port Authority (NPA), LWSC and other entities. YES, FRONTPAGE AFRICA IS aware that you want to employ your partisans. But have you considered for a moment that by doing that you are going to bloat the payroll? Good! But then, you are bloating the payroll! The Liberian government can’t afford to eat or spend everything it raises on salary or recurrent expenditure.

MR. PARTY CHAIRMAN, IF YOU will want Liberians at home and abroad to rate your government well, it will depend on the capital investment that will be seen.

CDC NEEDS TO HEED THE WARNING and stop asking the heads of some public entities to enlist their partisans into their work forces.

UNFORTUNATELY, THIS IS GOING to be very difficult for CDC. Supporters of the party can be heard saying that this is their government and it was their time to “enjoy,” too, like others did in former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s regime.

MOST OF THESE CDC PARTISANS, who are very young, don’t regard government to be the Liberian Government. They only see it as being a government by, for and of CDC.

THIS THING OF ARBITRARILY employing partisans of CDC had been initiated by the Acting Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Madam Celia Cuffy Brown.

WHEN MADAM CUFFY-BROWN opted to mainly employ brothers of President Weah at Liberia’s economic gateway, she claimed to have acted based on the directive of the Liberian leader. Her action bloated heavily the payroll of the entity.

WHEN SHE HIRED THEM, she began to give each of them US$4,050; this is more than triple what some folks, who were doing the very same jobs for which she hired them. 

BEFORE SHE HAD BROUGHT IN THE President’s three brothers, in the absence of a Managing Director at the port, she begun exercising unauthorized powers, which threatened to destabilize the NPA and set it back years of recent gains and improvements.

SHE CHOSE TO EXERCISE THE POWER of the Managing Director by already taking the following unauthorized actions: The National Port Authority runs on the government fiscal period from July 1 through June 30th, meaning the current NPA budget was crafted last year and ends on June 30th. Therefore all unauthorized actions of expanded employment and promotions are not accommodated for in the existing budget. But she has among other things carried out pay raise in favor of few persons, including her sister Rebecca Teta Cuffy. She made Rebecca Claims Manager even though she has never worked in that department and increased her salary by 300 percent, from US$300 to US$1,067.

MRS. CUFFY-BROWN ALSO RAISED the salary of the Human Resources Manager, Marcus Cooper, from US$1,067 to US$4,500 and further gave him a new nomenclature: Executive Director of Human Resources. This portfolio has never or does not exist in the NPA organogram and has not been budgeted for in the present fiscal year.

AMONG OTHER THINGS SHE DID, the Deputy MD, also promoted the Income Manager and the Budget Manager to Directors of their various sections and increased their salaries by more than 100%. She also promoted the Expenditure Manager to Deputy Comptroller and increased his salary as well.

OTHER THAN NOT ONLY PUTTING additional people on the already very big civil servant payroll, we think there are a number of things that the George Weah leadership can do in order to not have a bloated budget.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, the President has since refused to declare his assets. Meanwhile, with all that doubts on the minds of some Liberians, President Weah is going ahead to reportedly begin the construction of two of his houses.

HE FEW WEEKS AGO HAD THE house on 9th Street, Sinkor flattened by a bulldozer for rebuilding.

BY HIS ACTION OF NOT DECLARING his assets, he is encouraging his officials to follow in his footsteps in total violation of the laws on Asset Declaration.

THIS IS WHAT THE LAW says about one declaring one’s asset.

IN PART 10, OF THE CODE of Conduct, it is required that every Public Official and Employee of government involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types sign performance or financial bonds and in addition declare his or her income, assets and liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter: at the end of every three years; on promotion or progression from one level to another; upon transfer to another public office; and upon retirement resignation.

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