21 December 2012

Liberia: Donors Stuck With Ghost Names

Foreign donors have tied financial support to the Liberian government to the clearance of ghost names from its payroll, Finance Minister Amara Konneh has disclosed.

The question of ghost names in the government's payroll has also impeded the chances of increasing civil servants' salaries in the 2012/13 U$647 budgets despite a sharp increase in the salaries, and incentives of the legislators.

Liberia has been battling with ghost names with Finance Minster disclosing that the country has been loosing US$20 million annually.

This made the government to tie the removal of ghost names as a condition for increment in civil servants' salaries.

However, civil servants were unenthusiastic over government's failure to increase their salaries in the fiscal budget of 2012/2013 with some saying it was unfair to tie the payroll cleaning to the increment of their budget.

Responding to questions at the Ministry of Information regular briefing Thursday, Finance Minister Konneh said "the payroll issue is becoming a fiscal issue for us because most of our partners are linking their budget support not to governance issue like the payroll reform."

The minister however said government was making effort to clear the payroll of ghost names. He said "a standing committee that is co-chaired by the CSA and the Ministry of Finance are getting strong support from The United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

"We are working very well with the GAC and beginning January we will start the exercise," the minister added.

Minister Konneh added that government has "decided that we should outsource the payroll to an outside reputable firm that has no interest in Liberia to help us with this process."

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