Liberia: Ex-AG Morlu on Response to 400 CBL Jobs – ‘Weah Government Did Not Dispute Anything’
Monrovia – Mr. John Morlu, the former Auditor General of Liberia says the George Manneh Weah-led government did not dispute anything in its response to his revelation that the International Monetary Fund has made the dismissal of some 400 employees from the Central Bank of Liberia as one of the prerequisites for Liberia entering its Extended Credit Facility.
The government, in its response Sunday, described Mr. Morlu’s revelation as mere propaganda. “This is blatant propaganda! The truth is hiring at the CBL is too high relative to hiring at central banks in other countries,” the government through the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, said in a statement.
The MICAT statement said: “Countries are compared on everything in the developing world. If hiring at the central bank in Sierra Leone or in Guinea is not this high, the central bank in Liberia should be expected to do the same. In Liberia, the Central Bank of Liberia has run deficits for a long time, which means they use reserve money to pay salaries or operational costs. Central banks are supposed to run surpluses and give back to Government. But the difficult economic situation in Liberia has made this difficult over the years. So, the Bank has been financed through reserve. If the budgets or salaries are too high, this comes at a cost to reserve.”
Because the IMF is going to give Liberia money to support its reserve and balance of payment positions, the government said, the first to do is to make sure this new money is not used the way it was used in the past 12 to 14 years. “This is what change is. So, the CBL and the IMF will work out ways of reducing CBL budget as a prior action. Wage reform, as we also see on the fiscal side, will have to take place, but this does not mean the immediate firing of 400 people. Will people go? Yes. How many? These details are being worked out between the CBL and the IMF and the real number will be known soon, but they will be far less than 400. There are other strategies that the bank is reviewing with the Fund to resolve these issues.”
In fact, Mr. Morlu said, the government actually agreed with the issues he raised. “The Weah government did not dispute anything. Go and read their long potentiation. For example, they agreed that there will be layoffs at the CBL and more cuts in salaries and expenses. I thank the Liberian Government for responding to the facts I presented and for agreeing with me on all the issues. You can counter respond when people agree with you.”
Mr. Morlu said the Weah administration has confirmed by saying “yes” there will be layoffs. Instead he says, the government is claiming that it will be “far less” than 400 people because they are going back to IMF to negotiate the number. But since they claimed to have the facts, they can’t say how “far less.” How can I respond to “far less.”
In fact, Mr. Morlu says he has forced the Weah administration to go back and negotiate on behalf of the Liberian people. “I just might have saved 100s of Liberian jobs. But hopefully as the minister finance said, the 400 employees will not all become “contractors. I am happy and pleased that I have forced the Weah government to go back and renegotiate with IMF. Every Liberian job saved is always a good thing.”
Mr. Morlu lamented that some 4. 99% of the Weah government’s response discusses the last 12 years of the Sirleaf administration. “I don’t want to get into another discussion about Sirleaf. Weah’s government must take responsibility now and stop the blaming shifting. It has gotten old as an excuse.”
Added Mr. Morlu: “We fought and exposed the ills of the Sirleaf administration for 12 years. Now, it’s Weah’s administration who is in the driver’s seat. Just because Sirleaf did something bad doesn’t mean Weah and his people should do the same. This “blame mindset” has got to come to an end. Let Weah and his team take Responsibility and be accountable. It’s nearly two years and Team Weah is still whining about Sirleaf this or Sirleaf that.”
The former Auditor General maintained that he remains opposed to Liberia entering the IMF program. “It’s receivership, a form of chapter 11 bankruptcy. The government of Liberia is entering into a program to be told what to do and be monitored for performance so that it can meet its obligations to debtors and its shareholders (Liberians). They are arguing form over substance.”
The former AG vowed that he will never go down to their level with personal attacks because he is used to government and its officials attacking and insulting, even as he insisted, it’s never personal. “Every Liberian should read the government response and judge for themselves.
Please await my next discovery on critical things hidden by the Weah team. They have started a long four-year fight; they can’t win with me. But I am pleased some jobs will be saved by intervention.”