Liberia: GOL Wage Harmonization Makes Pay Rise for Security Sector, Teachers

As a result of the wage harmonization exercise conducted by the government through a support from the Civil Service Agency (CSA) and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning MFDP, officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia AFL, Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS), and the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), will see a raise in their salaries in the coming months.

It can be recalled that since President George Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government took office; there have been concerns raised in the public about mass employments across government, something experts say have constrained the national budget.

Cognizant of these and the fact that an overhaul of government payroll became a prerequisite, the government decided to reenter the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program for Liberia where a "wage harmonization committee" was setup to address imbalances in wages of civil servants.

This led to a US$33 million shrink in government's wage bill, from US$330 million in the 2018-2019 fiscal year to US$297 million in the the 2019/2020 draft budget submitted.

At the regular press briefing at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) on Thursday, July 4, 2019, Madam Laurine Wede Johnson, CSA Director General, said in addition to saving government the much needed funds, the exercise has also led to an increment in the wages of civil servants.

According to Madam Johnson, the government's wage bill grew from around US$30 million in 2005/06 to US$322 million in 2018/19. Already at an unsustainable level of growth, the wage bill was expected to continue to rise, due to poor human resource management practices across the government, especially related to employment, and the discretionary management of allowances, which is about 60% of government's expenditures and is really troubling the economy.

"This outlook overcrowded our government's ability to fund additional developmental projects, a major challenge the Wage Bill Technical Committee led by the Civil Service Agency and MFDP is addressing," she explained.

She said an additional US$50 will be added to the salaries of LIS employees, LNFS, and LDEA respectively.

"Also, officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) will get additional US$36 and US$30 is added to the salaries of officers of the AFL. Because of the exercise US$15 has been added to the salaries of Probation and Correction officers," Madam Johnson said.

She added, "About 3500 public school teachers on supplementary payroll earning between US$40 and US$75 will now make US$100. And around 114 health workers earning below US$100 will now get US$100."

Madam Johnson said the harmonization of the wages of all GoL employees is done through the application of a standard pay and grade structure.

"Eliminate the discretionary allowance system and collapse all pay and allowances into a single pay. Centralize public sector human resource management systems and processes through the CSA. Implement a Limited Replacement Program of retired civil servants. Engage in vigorous payroll cleaning. Pursue the completion of the reform of all MACs.

Madam Johnson said a total 66,538 employees from central government have been graded for now, according to the GoL revised pay grade structure. They include teachers, health workers, security officers, foreign service employees, and presidential appointees, excluding the judiciary and legislature;

Of the 66,538 employees from central government, 56,338 or 85% of them were protected from any downward adjustment in pay. These include teachers, health workers, security officers, foreign service employees and employees currently earning below their assessed pay grade.

Of the 66,538 employees from central government, 10,200 or 15% of these employees were affected by downward salary adjustment, including presidential appointees, while 14,900 or 27% of the employees protected will also get an immediate monthly pay increase beginning July 2019.

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