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Gov’t announces new measure to reduce wage bill

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The Government of Liberia says it has put in place a new administrative measure that will reduce the growth in wage bill here significantly and ensure efficiency in resource allocation in the national budget.

The measures which was endorsed by Cabinet on March 9, 2020, stipulates that all employments and promotions within the central government will be centralized through the Civil Service Agency and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, and are subject to the agreed establishment posts of the spending entities as well as the availability of budgetary allocation.

New employment or promotion of existing employees will have to be co-approved by the designated authorities of the CSA and MFDP.Moreover, as part of the new administrative expenditure control measures, all new employments across Government shall be thoroughly vetted and duly authorized through the CSA and MFDP before placement on the wage bill.

The regulation clarifies that these new employments will mainly focus on employments in social services sectors such as health and education, in addition to the security sector.

To sustain the removal of ghost employees, the Wage Bill Control Regulation emphasizes the reinforcement of biometric enrollment of all employees across the central government and requiring National Identification Numbers (NIN) for all employees of the Government of Liberia before the end of the March, 2020.

The Regulation warns that employees failing to meet end of March 2020 deadline will not receive their salaries beginning the month of March until their respective agencies submit their national biometric identification cards to the Inter-Agency Wage Bill Harmonization Team.

The Administrative Wage Bill control Regulation has also mandated the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Civil Service Agency, through the Interagency Wage Harmonization Team, to complete the harmonization and standardization of pay across all State-Owned Enterprises (SoEs), consistent with the National Standardization Act of 2019 before the end of June 2020. All State-Owned Enterprises (SoEs) are required to adhere to the measures contained in the regulation to support Government’s efforts to efficiently manage the country’s scarce public resources.

The National Payroll Ghost Removal Taskforce, which has been constituted by His H.E. President George M. Weah, comprises four agencies of government: The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Internal Audit Agency, the Civil Service Agency, and the National Identification Registry.

The Taskforce will be chaired by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning through the Liberia Macroeconomic Policy Analysis Center (LIMPAC), the research and policy think tank within the MFDP that is currently leading on the on-going wage harmonization and standardization exercise. LIMPAC shall supervise the daily activities of the Taskforce as well as forge persistent collaboration with other members and the spending entities of interest to identify and immediately remove or blocked ghost employees from the government payroll.

As Co-Chair of the taskforce, the Internal Audit Agency is mandated to institute physical audits of payrolls for entities on interest and provide findings to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning through LIMPAC and the Civil Service Agency for immediate actions.

The Taskforce will institute headcounts of all government employees at various spending entities across Liberia, and Foreign Missions outside of Liberia. The headcount will focus on employees who have been assigned pay grade and are currently enlisted on the automated payroll system of the Government of Liberia. The ghost removal taskforce is given a six-month mandate beginning March 2020 to comprehensively and sustainably clear the public sector wage bill of ghost employees.

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