Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor clarifies here that the budgetary allocation for the Liberian Legislature was never harmonized doing the salary harmonization exercise in government, contrary to assertion by the leadership of the Liberian Senate.
Ms. Taylor, who is also President of the Liberian Senate, met with protesting senate staffers who had earlier locked entrance to the finance department of the Senate and the House of Representatives under heavy downpour Monday, demanding about one year salary arrears.
She held an emergency meeting with the aggrieved staffers led by their leader Charles Brown, the chief of office staff to Grand Gedeh County Senator Wesley Yonton, Communication Director of the Liberian Senate, Jalawah Tonpoe and three additional staffers from her office to find an amicable solution.
VP Taylor narrated that she was shock to hear about staffers’ Liberian dollars salary component being cancelled when in fact, authorities of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning did not at anytime bother with their [staffers’] salaries.
The staffers had locked the finance office entrance, demanding for their payroll for personal perusal or else, staffers to the finance department would not have access to office. Madam Taylor appealed to the staffers to calm down, scheduling another meeting with them on Thursday, July 23, at the Capitol at which time she might have concluded discussion with Speaker Bhofal Chambers and Senate President Pro-Tempore, Albert Chie.
Based on her appeal, the aggrieved staffers through their president, agreed to disengage, giving access to staffers of the finance department to resume normal business.
However, the Senate chairman on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget, Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah claimed after the ascendency of the Coalition for Democratic Change-led administration, the government decided that all public employees earn a harmonized salary, which should be paid in United States dollars. He disclosed that to enforce the pronouncement, US$1 million was deducted from the senate budget.
Commenting on claim by Vice President Taylor that humanization policy of the government did not affect the Liberian Legislature, Senator Saytumah said he was not in Monday’s meeting with the Vice President and the staffers, so he cannot differ with her, noting that at times, people are misquoted.
“During the budgetary allocation period of this current fiscal year, we identified US$527,000 to allocate among the staffers but the distribution was to be done based on ranking of positions and mathematical formula that we’re establishing to do,” he said.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne