The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) says its attention has been drawn to media reports that the CBL is planning massive redundancies, to the tone of 400 staff members – something that would amount to more than 50% of all its employees.
The CBL said the story which was first reported in the Frontpage Africa Newspaper on Friday, 1 November 2019, has the potential of sowing discontent at the Bank and within the wider society and, in so doing, undermines the recent hard work by a renewed and re-invigorated CBL Board of Governors to enhance the credibility of the Bank as the Monetary Authority of the Country.
In a press release issued by the CBL Tuesday November 5, the bank said, like other public sector organizations, is implementing an austerity program that will qualify the Government of Liberia for an IMF-Supported Program, which is critical to the country’s economic recovery in the medium term.
It said nowhere is CBL planning to lay-off more than half of its entire human resources. Admittedly, the current level of CBL staffing is unsustainable, but the final figure, which is yet to be decided by the Board of Governors, is not likely to exceed 10% of its wage bill and that most of the expectedly redundant staff could be considered under a contractual arrangement.
The release further stated that while the ongoing negotiation is in an advanced stage, there are still issues to be concluded between the IMF staff and the Government, of which the CBL is an important player.
The CBL said its current austerity program being implemented was necessitated by several years of deficit financing, going as far back as several past administrations. More than this, CBL austerity program involves more than just laying off staff. It also includes other components of the budget.
The release notes that it is important to also note that the proposed budget cut of the Bank is intended to strengthen the financial position of the Bank to enable it effectively perform its primary function of ensuring both monetary and financial stability.
The bank said it is hoped that the above austerity measures will bring CBL operating expenditure under control by 2020, making it unnecessary for the institution to resort to the use its reserves for deficit financing.
The bank concluded that it would like to work with a nationalistic and patriotic media that puts Liberia first, rather than media institutions whose publications cause panic and bring about social upheaval, undermining the national economy.