17 January 2013

Liberia: Civil Servants Reject U.S $20 Increment

The row over the increment of the salaries of civil servants has continued with the government workers demanding a "reasonable increment" commensurable with conditions of service.

In a release from the Executive Committee of the Civil Servants and General Workers Association of Liberia (CSGWAL), the civil servants rejected the proposed U$20 increment in their salaries and asked government to "make a reasonable increment that will commensurate with contemporary economic realities in the country."

In the July 2012/13 National Budget, U$70.00 was proposed as an increment in the civil servants' salaries, something the association says will benefit them instead of the U$20.00.

In the release dated January 16,2013, CSGWAL described as unfair what appears to be an 'exclusive focus' on the salaries and benefits of senior government officials at the detriment of others.

This, the group said will worsen economic demands or ordinary government employees.

In the release signed by the president of CSGWAL, the group said the US$70.00 increment "will benefit the civil servants in the event where government is boasting of poverty reduction in the country.

The group said the benefit of enhanced civil servants' salaries in Liberia will be enormous, given the potential positive multiplier effects on other sectors.

The group also acknowledged efforts the government has demonstrated towards economic growth and development in the country but stressed the need to focus its attention on human capacity building that will consider economic empowerment of its citizens.

Contacted, the communication director of the Ministry of Finance said he did not have sufficient information on the increment of civil servants' salaries in the current budget.

For his part, Information Minister Lewis Brown said he was not clothed with the authority to comment on the issue.

Salary increment became a sticky issue during the budget period last year with the government saying its payrolls were saddled with ghost names while the lawmakers increased their salaries.

Finance Minister Amara Konneh said ghost names were causing government at least US$20 million yearly, arguing that after an audit of the payroll their salaries would be increased.

"After the GAC audit of all government institutions and agencies, there will be sufficient amount of money available for increment in the salary structure of many civil servants," he said.

But some members of the civil servants held banners and besieged the capitol building saying it was unfair for their pay not to be increased.

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