Open Letter to His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President, Republic of Liberia
Dear Mr. President,
I would like to seize this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks to you and the government for the development initiatives being carried out. In no time these smaller initiatives will cumulate into bigger ones. I am writing this open letter to you Mr. President, as an ordinary citizen, to draw your attention to few of the things that are impacting us as citizens under your leadership.
Firstly, Mr. President, I want to delve into your policy of Salary Harmonization. The harmonization policy was intended to reduce salary disparities and manage the wage bill of the government more efficiently. Given the information provided surrounding this reform, approximately 70,000 civil servants were excited about the news that salary disparities among government workers doing the same kind of jobs would have been resolved.
Meanwhile, Mr. President, it was said that government workers making a US$100,000 and below would not be affected by the harmonization process-this information was provided to us through the human resource officers/managers that attended a series of meeting relating to the process. Besides, it was said that in every budget year, salaries would have increased by a certain amount-that seems not to be working, Mr. President, since the implementation of the harmonization process.
The finance minister needs to be cognizant of this as it was the information the public sphere. The implementation of the salary harmonization has affected the least paid civil servant negatively. Mr. President, the people are not happy with this policy and are lamenting the consequences.
Salaries were reduced, and many civil servants are victims of such reform to the extent that there are public outcries from the civil servant in almost every sector of your government. People are unable to adequately meet up with their household expenses and settlement of debts. The policy from a broader perspective has caused more harm than good and needs to claim your attention Mr. President.
Mr. President, remember the civil servants constitute a large portion of the population and their happiness must be a concern to you and the government. The people are not happy Mr. President! Do something! Nurses are crying out here about unexplained reductions in their salaries.
Secondly, Mr. President, the citizens are not realizing the impact of the L$4,000,000,000 that the Central Bank printed. We have so many mutilated banknotes circulating in the economy. Besides, only high-denomination banknotes ($50, $100, and $500) seem to be more in circulation.
This is horrible for the economy, Mr. President! You hardly see L$5 and L$10.00 in circulation and this is situation is causing people to unwillingly leave their change with vendors and service providers during transactions.
Mr. President, the CBL came up with a timetable sometime last year informing the public about how the money was going to be infused in the economy. The public was informed that there will be cash centers in strategic places to hasten the process.
Probably, the CBL has forgotten, therefore, Mr. President, you must remind them. They have a duty to the Liberian people and as such they must perform as per their mandate (s). They must mitigate the situation so that ordinary Liberian will be able to do business freely without hindrance in the economy.
Mr. President, this situation is embarrassing to the economy and the CBL must act expediently.
Thirdly, Mr. President, thanks for the vehicles you purchased for the chiefs. It is a good thing that the government has provided these vehicles for our chiefs to enhance movements and add value to the work they are doing at the subnational levels.
But here is my concern, Mr. President! Where did the money come from? Did it come from the 2020/2021 fiscal budget? If it is from the fiscal budget, then, Mr. President, the General Service Agency should code those vehicles.
I see most of those vehicles plying the streets without coding from the GSA, but with different inscriptions on them. And if it was not from the budget, I am concerned and I guess many Liberians would be concerned about the source of the funding.
Lastly, Mr. President! How is the free education program you announced working? I believe your passion for education is overwhelming, however, your lieutenants are not doing well to monitor your free education policy. Don’t even know if there is a roadmap to effect it this policy. Mr. President, probably, you may not know that public schools’ requirements are high compared to when students paid fees.
Schools’ administrators under the canopy of PTA have created a litany of activities and incorporate them in the information sheet that students are required to pay money towards. The Ministry of Education needs to be very proactive to discourage such situation that has the propensity to put more financial burdens on parents and students.
For example, the school information sheet is supposed to be placed on bulletin to provide opportunities for public consumption and for the students.
Nowadays, it is not. You must pay at least L$500.00 or in some cases above to acquire the information sheet-private institutions are the worst. If you have five students in the school, you will be required to pay for five information sheets, this is unacceptable! The Ministry of Education must be cognizant about this and mandate all schools to have information sheets published on the school’s bulletin. This is serious matter, Mr. President!
There can no doubt, Mr. President, to see reasons to address some of the issues herein described to put smiles on the faces of Liberians who have given you, their powers.
Alvin M. Zawolo