The Hiring Mess At Liberia’s Central Bank: Technical Areas Need Competent People

No Liberian wants the world to forget about Liberia and no true Liberian wants Mr. Weah and his government to fail. The truth of the matter is, God only help those who help themselves. We must remove ourselves from the dependency syndrome by doing those things that will assure the world whose help we are seeking, that we mean business. Once we as a people, government and country do what we are supposed to do, there will be no need to put out an SOS call appealing for them, not to forget us – or come to our aid.

THE GOVERNOR OF THE CENTRAL BANK OF LIBERIA, since assuming management of the CBL has reportedly been on a hiring spree, placing a large number of incompetent and unqualified people in such a critical area of government, key to the country’s economic survival.

ON TUESDAY, FrontPageAfrica obtained a copy of an internal memo under the signature of the Governor announcing a freeze on new employment. 

THE MEMO came less than A day after some fifty new employees were reportedly added to its payroll, the Central Bank of Liberia has with immediate effect placed a freeze on employment. 

An internal memo from Governor Nathaniel Patray obtained by FrontPageAfrica Tuesday said the following: “All matters related to promotion, salary increment and other issues of staff benefits must be handled in line with the bank’s policy through the Staff Performance Appraisal and Merit System. Management shall take stringent actions, including termination of services against any staff found to be in violations of the foregoing. Absolutely no staff shall receive applications, initiate or entertain any communications/discussions relating to employment, promotion, salary benefit increase at the CBL, except expressly authorized to do so.

IRONICALLY, GOVERNOR PATRAY, according to sources has been the mastermind of a lot of new hires in recent days. A source at the CBL told FPA Tuesday that some 275 to 300 new hires have been placed on payroll since Mr. Patray was appointed last July to replace Dr. Milton Weeks.

THE CBL IS TASKED with maintaining price stability in the Liberian economy and has the functional independence, power and authority to issue legal tender banknotes and coins, administering the currency laws and regulating the supply of money, providing credit to the bank-financial institutions on a discretionary basis and act as a fiscal agent for the government. The bank also plays an active role in collaborating with bank-financial institutions in the creation and maintenance of efficient and safe mechanisms for payments, clearing and settlements to meet the needs of the financial markets, commerce, government agencies and the general public.

IN MOST DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, competent and highly-qualified people are placed in critical areas of government in a bid to ensure effectiveness and efficiency and a smooth running of government operations.

RIGHT NEXT DOOR, in most of the countries surrounding Liberia, qualified people are being recruited outside the political sphere to ensure that government succeeds at all levels.

IN GHANA FOR EXAMPLE, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that one of the world’s largest cocoa producers, boasting oil and expanding crude production is recording rising prices that has pushed the once-impoverished nation at the top of the GDP growth tables. According to the IMF, the country’s GDP will rise 8.8% this year – double the pace of emerging economies as a whole, and well ahead of world growth.

IN SIERRA LEONE, the IMF predicts a 5.1% growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year with the global monetary body poised to pump in millions. While the economic landscape in Sierra Leone remains challenging, the IMF says authorities there have navigated the difficulties well in the year since taking office, helping to stabilize the economy. “Real GDP looks set to pick up this year to 5.1 percent, thanks in part to the resumption of iron ore mining. After peaking above 19 percent last September, inflation moderated to 17.5 percent in March and is projected to continue tracking down over 2019.”

TO THE CONTRARY, in Liberia, the IMF recently sliced the post-war nation’s 2019 growth outlook as inflation erode gains made in revenue collection. 

THE IMF SAID growth for Liberia is now estimated at 1.2 percent lower than 2.5 percent in 2017 with the forecast for 2019 on current policies reviewed down to 0.4 percent from 4.7 percent.

ACCORDING TO THE IMF, Liberia’s inflation jumped to 28 percent in December and revenue reforms hold a considerable potential to directly expand the resource envelop and enhance a needed rise in social spending. The IMF staff in Liberia has recommended significant action to improve the business climate, while removing administrative constraints on imports and prices to boost competition.

THIS IS WHY MANY are shock to see the CBL which is the nerve center of the country’ economy recklessly engaging in new hires against the advice of key stakeholders.

THE GOVERNOR, FPA has learned has reportedly increased the number of employees since he became governor by about 75%. According to sources in the Finance and Human Resource Departments, the staff has been increased by about 300 new employees. 

A FRONTPAGEAFRICA REPORTER who visited the bank over the past week observe that cubicles have been placed in the lobbies on almost every floor to accommodate the new employees. Two supervisors who spoke to FPA on condition of anonymity that there is no work for some of the employees or even places to sit and work; therefore, some just sign and leave for the day and collect checks or direct deposit at the end of the month. The finance department and some of the officials at the bank are quietly expressing concerns that the bank may not meet its payroll few months from now if nothing is done about what is going on at the bank. 

WE HOPE that Governor Patray will not only enforce his own mandate delivered Tuesday but go a step further by reversing a lot of the 300 new hires he has made since assuming lead of the CBL.

THE CBL’S BOARD itself need to look into the matter and make recommendations to ensure that the nerve center of Liberia’s struggling economy does not fizzle and ends in a disaster that could trigger serious repercussions for the Liberian economy.