In August 2021, as part of efforts to provide an enabling environment for employees, the Government of Liberia, through the Civil Service Agency (CSA) and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), with support from the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), launched what it calls the “Legal Power Attorney,” or LPA for short, a scheme to empower its civil and public servants.
The LPA Scheme, a life-changing socio-economic opportunity for civil and public servants, increases sales and purchases for both vendors and consumers, resulting in a boost to the country’s economy amidst various challenges. The scheme was designed to provide credible alternatives to enhance the economic well-being of Liberians within the public service, given their limited income and wages. It is also a mechanism through which public servants may acquire properties and items such as building materials, furniture, electronics, and other goods and services from business firms on credit without severe financial burden, with a minimum cost of 5% interest added to the total value of the item(s) procured and remittance made over a period of six months through staff’s monthly salary deduction.
CSA, in collaboration with MFDP, and LRA, representing the Government of Liberia, had a tripartite memorandum of understanding with banking institutions, including business firms, in an effort to implement the scheme.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) states that a lump sum payment on the total cost of goods acquired by employees is made to the vendors by the banks based on a request from the CSA at the end of each transaction period. Remittances are to be made to the banks over the course of six months through staff’s salary deduction with an applied interest rate of five percent as commission for the bank to provide an effective and transparent mechanism through which employees of the Government of Liberia may acquire properties on credit. The LPA also facilitates the timely movement of inventory, thereby increasing vendors’ sales and enhancing their profitability.
The scheme, which officially kicked off on April 15, 2022, with a six-month pilot phase, saw the CSA, MF, and LRA as the three entities to test the process.
The maiden segment attracted a total of ninety-six (96) employees, while a total of eighty-six thousand, seven hundred, eighty-three dollars and forty cents United States dollars ($86,783.40 USD) worth of goods was acquired.
The introduction of the LPA scheme in the public service seeks to address a series of issues confronting civil servants regularly. One of the major issues is the low-income constraints in the face of high inflation, which makes saving unfeasible. Notwithstanding, most employees, however, still find means to save with the intent of utilizing their savings for future investment.
Due to the success stories of beneficiaries coupled with the unhindered progression of the LPA scheme and the socio-economic boost to the national economy, the Director-General of the CSA, Hon. James A. Thompson, has swelled the network by inviting other government entities.
However, employees are gradually beginning to take ownership of the scheme on the grounds that they would not have to save for projects or wait until the end of the year to implement their plans.
The LPA business strategy is part of the Pro-Poor Agenda of His Excellency, President George Manneh Weah, to help move citizens from poverty to prosperity, as the program is a global initiative that can be found in many countries around the world.