Hon. Joekai Kicks Off with a Development Partners Meeting

Joseph N. N. Swen

Just two days after his official takeover as Director-General of the Civil Service Agency (CSA), the central government agency statutorily responsible for managing and supervising the civil service sector of the Republic of Liberia, Hon. Josiah F. Joekai, Jr. had an acquaintance meeting with one of the agency’s partners, a Swedish foreign agency, the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), represented by the Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, His Excellency Urban Sjöstrom, on Thursday, March 14, 2024, organized by the Career Management and Training Division of the Civil Service Agency.

CSA Boss, in his opening statement, appreciated Ambassador Urban Sjöstrom and his entourage, comprises of Mr. Pär Sköld, FBA’s Project Manager, and Mr. Nils Bernholb. Hon. Joekai pledged his willingness to work with all development partners in the interest of civil servants and Liberians in general. “CSA is a major fulcrum of government, and if the fulcrum is strengthened, the government will be strengthened.” DG Joekai stressed.

He thereby reiterated his stance, as stated during his confirmation hearing and official takeover, to rigorously clean up the government payroll, which is plagued with enormous ghost names. He said that the clean-up, when successfully done, will boost the economy and thereby help to make a meaningful impact in every sector of the national economy. Hon. Joekai said the plague of the payroll has a severe implication on the timely provision of the civil servant’s monthly salary as well as the provision of basic social services to Liberia.

The Director-General stated that when the payroll is successfully cleaned out, his proposal of a bi-monthly salary payment will be submitted, and if accepted by the President, it can be rolled out. This, he said, is poised to alleviate the struggle most civil servants undergo by awaiting a period of one month before receiving their salary, leading to repeated indebtedness with a high interest rate.

Hon. Joekai, in an assured tone, said that his goal as the Director-General of the CSA is to empower every member of the civil service with the right tools, skills, and resources they need to excel in their roles, coupled with fostering accountability, transparency, innovation, and productivity, for which he is inspired to renew the sense of purpose and dedication among the workforce.

DG Joekai also stressed the importance of performance management. He said that there is a need to relook at the performance management system; this has to be a seamless approach. There is a need to make sure that people are working as required and in attendance at their various assigned areas. “The CSA is a strategic advisor to the Government of Liberia, providing counsel on organizational structuring, staffing strategies, compensation packages, pension schemes, and broader human resource development initiatives. With a commitment to fostering competence, professionalism, and motivation among civil servants, the CSA plays a pivotal role in ensuring the proficiency and responsiveness of the civil service to meet the government’s workforce needs.”

On his part, Ambassador Urban Sjöström recalled the stronger working relationship between the governments of Liberia and Sweden over the years. Stating that the Government of Sweden remains committed to working closely with the Government and People of Liberia at all levels, referencing the significant impact the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) is making through the awareness of the Rule of Law within the civil service in the delivery of the basic services.

FBA, which has a historic working relationship with the CSA through the Career Management and Training Division, is commissioned by the Swedish Government to work for peace, security, and development in conflict-affected countries, re-establishing links with civil servants across Africa as part of Sweden’s development aid, Mr. Pär Sköld added.

Also discussed was the proposed Executive Onboarding Program for Public Servants and Government Officials, organized by the Civil Service Agency in partnership with the Folke Bernadotte Academy and some civil society organizations.

According to the lead person, Mr. Alfred Drosaye, CSA’s principal administrative officer, the preparation is far advanced, with the President of the Republic giving his blessing and pledging the government’s support in seeing a successful implementation as the intent of the onboarding is timely and appropriate. The major goals of the proposed onboarding exercise are as follows:

  • To ensure that senior public servants and government officials are well-prepared to contribute effectively to the development and transformation of Liberia. By providing a structured onboarding program, participants will be equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to excel in their roles.
  • Leadership innovation and transformation: to focus on leadership development, emphasizing innovative approaches to governance;
  • Public ethical leadership and strategic people management senior officials will receive training on effective leadership, performance management, and managing human capital, which includes understanding the Code of Conduct, Rule of Law, Transparency, Accountability, and other public service instruments and their implications for the public.

Hon. Darlington A.P. Smith, Deputy Director-General for Human Resource Management and Policy, Mr. Alfred Drosaye, the Principal Administrative Officer, Directors Claudius Broderick and Isaac Govergo, and other Directors were actively contributory during the meeting.

Both entities expressed willingness and openness to continue working with each other in the best interest of the existing bilateral relationship.

On November 21, 2023, the Civil Service Agency (CSA) and the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) signed a strategic partnership agreement. The Memorandum of Understanding saw a collaboration between the two entities aimed at infusing the Rule of Law with the professional development of civil servants and people working within the public sector through training at the CSA’s established Civil Service Training Center.

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