3 July 2014

Liberia: Amid Protest, Finance, Planning Ministries Merger Completed

Monrovia — The long awaited merger of the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs has been formalized with the two ministries now combined into the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) amid protest from employees of the two former ministries that will affected by the merger.

As part of the formalization work, the department of revenue at the Ministry of Finance has been transitioned into the Liberia Revenue Authority, the arm of government that is expected to robustly collect government revenue.

Addressing journalists Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at the formalization of the two Ministries and the LRA, Finance Minister Amara Konneh revealed that the merger was a task that started as far back from the beginning of the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

He said his administration's stewardship of the process together with other Ministries and agencies of government was a continuation of the work started by his predecessors consistent with a clear objective of the reform agenda of President Sirleaf.

"Today, July 1, 2014, marks the formal operationalization of both entities. The Liberia Revenue Authority headed by Mrs. Elfreda Tamba and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, which, according to the law the existing Minister will act until the President makes a new appointment. We join all of our partners and stakeholders to begin the operationalization process and we encourage all of you to work together as we strive to reform our public sector, said Minister Konneh.

The Minister noted that they are aware of the fact that the reform process as with all other transitions cannot come easily, but promised that they work to ensure that everyone is treated with due respect.

"We remain open to ideas and will continue to broaden the space for constructive engagements and dialogue as we have done from the very beginning of this reform. On July 1st is announced today as the day commencing that does not mean that you will be thrown out of the both ministries and out of the authority".

Meanwhile, the Commissioner General of the newly formed Liberia Revenue Authority has assured the Minister of Finance that the LRA will work vigorously to ensure that the needed revenue is collected for the Government of Liberia.

"LRA needs the support of the Minister to deliver the good. Again honorable Minister, let us continue working together on the path of growing the revenue together", said Commissioner Tamba.

The merger has already been greeted with protest as employees of the two former ministries are insisting that the package offered for the voluntary redundancy program is not enough. Last week employees of the former Finance Ministry staged a slow show action against the planned redundancy program.

According to the employees the amount of US$5,000 for employees who have worked from 1 to 10 years and the US$7,000 for those who have worked from 11-22 years is small. The go-slow paralyzed normal activities at the Ministry resulting in loss in government revenue.


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