Liberia: No Salary for Christmas

Along with mining infrastructure, ArecelorMittal has invested in housing and food facilities for employees, as well as a school and a hospital.

Salary payments for thousands of Public Servants across the country will be delayed up to the Christmas season, Senate Pro-tempore Albert T. Chie announced Tuesday at the opening of a special session called by President George Weah.

President Weah on Monday recalled members of the Liberian Legislature to convene a special session in the wake of cash shortages at banks and delay in payments of civil servants' salaries here.

"... we appeal to our people for understanding this matter, Chie said, adding, "The next few months will be difficult with delayed salary payments continuing up to the Christmas season."

The Pro-tempore was however, quick to add that the situation is expected to be resolved by the end of February 2020, when it is anticipated that Government would have stabilized salary payments.

His statement comes days after the Minister of State Nathaniel McGill told the Voice of America radio that Government would make available payments for October and November in this month.Chie appears to blame the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for the present economic mess, while at the same time trying to justify that because the previous regime borrow from the CBL reserve or donor money to pay civil servants it was okay for the Weah administration to follow same.

He also noted that the current problem has been compounded by the printing of the controversial 10 billion Liberian bank notes during the past regime. Chie continued his picking of problem factors by adding that the waves of protests here have increased political risk index leading to a downward trend in foreign investment.

He also linked the present economic woes to the Ebola epidemic that weighed on the country's domestic debt burden, caused a greater imbalance in balance payments and reduced Liberia's productive capacity when major concessions closed during the Ebola crisis most of whom are yet to reopen.

On the request to print new money, Chie acknowledged request from the CBL seeking authorization from the Legislature to print a total of 35 billion Liberian dollar bank notes to replace the present legacy notes in circulation. Though there are still controversies surrounding the actual amount of Liberian dollar bank notes in circulation, with many political commentators raising eyebrows over the amount being sought for authorization.

To this, Chie argues that when the request to print the new bank notes was made in August 2019, the CBL reported that the Liberian Dollars supply in the economy stood at LD 21.28 billion, with 86% in circulation outside the banks while cash in the CBL accounted for 8% and in the commercial banks 6% of the stock. "From all indications in recent times, these proportions have changed over the weeks as our citizens are unable to get Liberian dollars from the commercial banks and the central banks." Chie adds.

The Pro-tempore alarms that the Liberia Revenue Authority has fallen short of its projected revenue collection from July to November15, 2019 by approximately USD 60million. He further argued that the shortfall in the collection of revenue has also contributed to the delay in payments of public sector workers salaries.

Chie said these negative factors which have affected the Liberian economy has pushed the government in accepting an IMF prescription which terms and conditions are "hard to swallow". The prescription includes wage harmonization, keeping an affordable wage bill level and prudence in overall public sector spending.

Salary payments for thousands of Public Servants across the country will be delayed up to the Christmas season, Senate Pro-tempore Albert T. Chie announced Tuesday at the opening of a special session called by President George Weah.

President Weah on Monday recalled members of the Liberian Legislature to convene a special session in the wake of cash shortages at banks and delay in payments of civil servants' salaries here."... we appeal to our people for understanding this matter, Chie said, adding, "The next few months will be difficult with delayed salary payments continuing up to the Christmas season."

The Pro-tempore was however, quick to add that the situation is expected to be resolved by the end of February 2020, when it is anticipated that Government would have stabilized salary payments.

His statement comes days after the Minister of State Nathaniel McGill told the Voice of America radio that Government would make available payments for October and November in this month.

Chie appears to blame the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for the present economic mess, while at the same time trying to justify that because the previous regime borrow from the CBL reserve or donor money to pay civil servants it was okay for the Weah administration to follow same.

He also noted that the current problem has been compounded by the printing of the controversial 10 billion Liberian bank notes during the past regime. Chie continued his picking of problem factors by adding that the waves of protests here have increased political risk index leading to a downward trend in foreign investment.

He also linked the present economic woes to the Ebola epidemic that weighed on the country's domestic debt burden, caused a greater imbalance in balance payments and reduced Liberia's productive capacity when major concessions closed during the Ebola crisis most of whom are yet to reopen.

On the request to print new money, Chie acknowledged request from the CBL seeking authorization from the Legislature to print a total of 35 billion Liberian dollar bank notes to replace the present legacy notes in circulation. Though there are still controversies surrounding the actual amount of Liberian dollar bank notes in circulation, with many political commentators raising eyebrows over the amount being sought for authorization.

To this, Chie argues that when the request to print the new bank notes was made in August 2019, the CBL reported that the Liberian Dollars supply in the economy stood at LD 21.28 billion, with 86% in circulation outside the banks while cash in the CBL accounted for 8% and in the commercial banks 6% of the stock. "From all indications in recent times, these proportions have changed over the weeks as our citizens are unable to get Liberian dollars from the commercial banks and the central banks." Chie adds.

The Pro-tempore alarms that the Liberia Revenue Authority has fallen short of its projected revenue collection from July to November15, 2019 by approximately USD 60million. He further argued that the shortfall in the collection of revenue has also contributed to the delay in payments of public sector workers salaries.

Chie said these negative factors which have affected the Liberian economy has pushed the government in accepting an IMF prescription which terms and conditions are "hard to swallow". The prescription includes wage harmonization, keeping an affordable wage bill level and prudence in overall public sector spending.

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