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STAND rejects plan to lay off 40,000 Liberians

A newly organized Liberian group, STAND, opposes the new administration’s plan to lay off 40,000 employees.

Monrovia, Liberia, April 5, 2024 – A newly formed Liberia group, Movement Solidarity and Trust for a New Day or STAND, says it is deeply troubled by a circular issued by the Civil Service Agency (CSA) on April 1, 2024. The circular appears to cast uncertainty over the status of over 40,000 government employees under the guise of “Employment status regularization.” 

STAND notes that of greater concern is the announcement that this exercise will specifically target 40,000 Liberian citizens employed between 2019 and 2023, raising fears of a witch-hunt against individuals who secured employment during the former CDC-led government of former President George Weah.

In a statement released in Monrovia, the group notes that given recent mass dismissals at the Ministry of State and other government agencies, specifically targeting those employed between 2018 and 2023, it is burdened by the potential backlash that could destabilize governance.

STAND believes these actions are ill-timed and detrimental to Liberia’s peace, stability, and national security interests.

The movement continues that guided by its dedication to champion the rights of all Liberians, irrespective of political allegiance and patriotic obligation to contribute to the success of the current government, the Boakai-led Administration should abstain from politically motivated witch-hunts that could plunge the nation into chaos. 

STAND adds that as it acknowledges the potential effectiveness of a smaller government in fostering growth, such a model can only flourish alongside a vibrant private sector.

While urging the government to halt this crisis-driven policy of mass layoffs, it emphasizes the importance of addressing policy gaps in the private sector, including creating an environment that promotes economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction.

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 It argues that the suggestion to eliminate thousands of Liberian jobs under the guise of “employment status regularization” is not only insensitive but also unprecedented, as it particularly singles out the governing period of a specific political party, even though the perceived issue existed long before the period from 2019 to 2023 that the exercise seeks to address.

According to the group, irrespective of their political leanings, these civil servants are solely working to support their families, and it would be unfair for them to suffer due to political disagreements.

It notes that speculation is already rampant before any action is taken, suggesting that this could be interpreted as a witch-hunt or politically motivated move against opposition members, particularly those affiliated with the former ruling Coalition for Democratic Change.

STAND, therefore, calls on President Boakai to immediately halt or call for a review of this exercise to eliminate the perception of a witch-hunt as the general public widely perceives it. 

It also encourages President Boakai and the government to redirect their efforts toward expanding the economy and fostering private sector growth through innovative means.

Additionally, STAND urges the 55th Legislature to closely monitor this situation and take immediate action to prevent a potential national disaster if these plans are implemented.

Meanwhile, it reassures the 40,000 Liberian civil servants of its steadfast dedication to employing all necessary civil and legal measures, as stipulated in the Liberian Constitution, to prevent the proposed layoffs by the CSA. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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