30 January 2013

Liberia: Civil Servants Salary Increment Unilateral

Two days following the pronouncement of US$25.00 increment in the salaries of civil servants, a lawmaker of the ruling Unity Party has strongly differed with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on the increment.

Montserrado County District #11 Representative J. Gabriel Nyenka said the President's pronouncement was unilateral and did not meet the approval of the Legislature as indicated in the constitution.

Chapter five, Article 34 (d) of the Constitution provides that the Legislature has the power to levy taxes, duties, imposts, excise and other revenues, and to borrow money, issue currency, mint coins and make appropriations for the fiscal governance of the Republic.

However, according to Representative Nyenka, the President chose to do the contrary by unilaterally announcing the appropriation of money with no regard to the Legislature.

In a communication to the Plenary of the House of Representatives Tuesday, Representative Nyenka told his colleagues that they were under obligation to correct errors committed by the Executive Branch and to ensure compliance.

"This declaratory act on the part of the Chief Executive, in my humble judgment, undermines the potency of the Legislature and contravenes the spirit of Article 3 of our current constitution," Representative Nyenka noted.

The Montserrado County Lawmaker called on his colleagues to place an immediate injunction on the President's declaration and immediately summon the Minister of Finance for clarification after which they (lawmakers) would now execute their constitutional responsibility of appropriating the needed increment in the salary of civil servants.

Representative Nyenka reminded his colleagues that "anything diametrical to his proposition, would amount to a perception of conspiracy of their par as the lawmakers to injure the constitution."

Moreover, he said if nothing is done, it would be the subconscious acquiescence with the Executive Branch to undermine the functions of the Legislative Branch.

The Montserrado District #11 Representative wondered where the US$25.00 increment in civil servants salary came from when the payroll was still undergoing clean-up process.

He disagreed that if the projected US$20 million is raised after the payroll cleanup process, the US$25.00 increment for civil servants was very little.

He suggested that an increment of US$75.00 be considered after the payroll clean-up process is concluded.

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