Liberia’s quest to trim the size of public sector payroll and reduce the already huge wage burden is gaining steam- thanks to a strong political will from President George M. Weah and his cabinet.
“We have consolidated, automated and centralized the payroll. Now, we are at a crucial stage of the process which is to clean the payroll of ghost employees”, Del Francis Wreh, Executive Director, Liberia Macroeconomic Policy Analysis Center (LIMPAC) told journalists at the end of a daylong seminar for more than 250 Hrs and Comptrollers from spending entities across central government.
Organized by the National Identification Registry, the workshop explained the significance of the payroll clean up exercise and how the biometric I.D cards help curb ghost employees on the payroll. Also, HRs and Comptrollers were furnished with the names of those employees who are yet to submit their national I.D numbers for verification by the taskforce.
“At the beginning of this process, there were disagreements and misunderstanding but one thing that was constant is the political will from the President and his cabinet to get these things done”, Wreh emphasized.
J. Tiah Nagbe, Head of the National Identification Registry divulged the effectiveness of the cleanup exercise through the National I.D. “You cannot get on the payroll without a national ID. And to have it, you have to be alive. We are building an electronic fence that no one can penetrate. With this technology, the idea of ghost will be impossible”.
The payroll cleanup initiative is an upshot of the Harmonization exercise which amongst others collapsed basic salary and general allowances thus eliminating the discretional used of the general allowance. The exercise has reduced government’s wage bill by US$28M or 8.5% from US$327M at end of FY18/19 to about US$299M at end of the just ended FY19/20 Fiscal Year.
Also, it has established a standardized pay grade for every position within Central Government consistent with the National Standardization Act of 2019 and increased salary of more than 15,000 low earning employees including officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS), Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Teachers and Health workers who earned below US$100 per month.
By Edward Blamo