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Civil Service Boss frowns on critics

The Director General of the Civil Service Agency (CSA) James Thompson says he doesn’t comprehend why people keep expressing concern about Civil Servants’ salary payments when the government does not exist just to pay one sector of the workforce.

Civil Servants in Liberia are the least paid in government with some earning as low as US$50, as monthly salary leading some employees at the Ministry of Information protesting recently in demand of salary increment.

But Mr. Thompson maintains that people should be more focused on how Liberia could move forward instead, of politicizing everything, adding that there are other important matters that equally have government’s attention rather than crying for Civil Servants’ pay. 

He made the statement recently at a special briefing to announce official launch of awareness on synchronization of Civil Servants’ Employment and Pension Data, including Civil Service Electronic Pay Slip platform.

According to him, when the Civil Service started reform process in 2019, the Agency had a dual pay system, paying two different salaries to employees.

He explains that the current administration at the CSA inherited a system that paid basic salaries in two different grading systems: Basic Salary Grading System managed by the CSA and Allowance Grading System.

“In other words, under the basic salary pay system employees were paid in Liberian Dollars and everything was uninformed”, he adds.

Mr. Thompson continues that if people were serving in the same position, they got the same pay because once an employee enters the grade positions in the basic salary system, the pay ultimately pops up.

However, he says for Allowance, the CSA gives government ministries and agencies about 80 percent right that allows heads at those institutions to exercise discretion on who gets what based on performance.

According to him, this means that though allowances constitute lots of employees’ pay, not everyone benefits under the allowance pay grading system.

“So, it is possible for two persons to work in the same agency and get their Liberian Dollars pay, which is the basic salary system, but under the allowance grading system, I cannot get allowances, while you get allowance.”

However, to solve this problem he indicates that in 2019, the CSA set up a harmonization scheme to merge the two payment systems and create a single system, explaining that during the harmonization process, more people who were added to the system, did not follow the government procedure and the CSA did not have records on them.

Immediately after the Weah administration took office in 2018, the governing Coalition for Democratic Change distributed lists of partisans among various ministries and agencies for employment, bloating the government wage bill. 

“Even though our law says that we are responsible for public sector Employment, we didn’t have records on these people and there were thousands and thousands of them”, Mr. Thompson revealed. 

He says when the payroll reform started in 2019, the Agency did not just merge both systems, but also created a single database for government employees and regularized status of all those, who work in the government. Editing by Jonathan Browne


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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