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GeneralLiberia news

Transport Ministry employees rally for fair wages

- Amidst soaring living costs

By Kruah Thompson

Thousands of employees of the Ministry of Transport took to the streets on Monday, April 3, 2023, demanding a salary adjustment to reflect the rising cost of living, as finance Minister Tweah Promises Swift Action.

The protestors, who were joined by union leaders and other supporters, gathered outside the Ministry’s headquarters, chanting slogans and holding up placards.

The demonstration caused significant disturbance to residents in the area, with police deployed to maintain order.

The protestors vowed to continue their strike until their demands are met, raising concerns about the potential impact on the country’s transport sector.

Min. Tweah at Transport Ministry Monday April 3

Jaspy N. White the Assistant Director for Statistics and Research at the Ministry of Transport who is also the spoked person for the disenchanted employees said, the institution is one of the lowest paid entities under the CDC administration.

He claims employees of the entity are paid 60 to 70 USD as their gross salary, while other revenue-generating institutions like the Liberia Revenue Agency (LRA)/are paid even higher salaries. Something he describes as unfair to employees who are chastised by car owners daily.

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“It is on record that this is the only Ministry that continues to raise the highest revenue in the Republic of Liberia. Evidence shows that last fiscal period, the Ministry of Finance gave us the task to generate 7.5M and we were able to raise 12.5 million dollars.”

Mr. White argued that you cannot be a higher revenue generator for the government and be underpaid while other revenue-generating institutions are paid higher salaries.

“Therefore, it is against this backdrop that employees of the ministry have gathered to express their dissatisfaction.’ Mr. White says, “If the Ministry of Finance Director is taking 1,750 United States Dollars as the salary the Director of Transport should also take the same USD1750 and this should cut across to all revenue generating institutions in the country.”

In response, to the protester’s claim, Finance Minister Tweah told the gatherings that he believes all entities that generate higher revenue for governments should be catered to as the strongest in the CDC government.

He explained that it was on this basis that LRA was given 4℅ of government revenue to spend on their own to enable them to generate more government revenue. “This has contributed to the overwhelming revenue performance that is seen at LRA today,” he argued.

He told the protestors that he is aware of the strong revenue performance of the Ministry of Transport but what he is not aware of is employees being paid below 100 USD.

According to him, when President Weah announced that no government employees in his administration will make below 150 during his state of the nation address, it took effect in February of this year.

Therefore, it is a surprise to hear that people are making below 150 at the Ministry of Transport. adding that if people are making such an amount after president Weah’s SONA address, then he sees the need to ask the Minister why it is that way.

Henceforth, Minister Tweah said the protester’s claims are legitimate and his technical team is already looking into it, and that they will get back to them by Wednesday, April 5th, 2023.

Meanwhile, If the Ministry of Transport’s demand for employee salary adjustment is not met despite Minister Tweah’s promise of redress, it could lead to a variety of consequences.

Employees may become disillusioned and less motivated, leading to a decrease in productivity and work quality. This could, in turn, lead to delays in the ministry’s work and negatively impact the transportation sector as a whole.

Additionally, failing to fulfill the promised salary adjustment could result in increased tensions and even increase protests among the ministry’s employees, potentially causing disruptions to normal operations.

If the issue persists for an extended period, it could also harm the ministry’s reputation and make it more difficult to attract and retain qualified employees in the future.

Ultimately, it is important for the Ministry of Finance to follow through on its promise to adjust employee salaries in order to maintain a motivated and productive workforce and ensure the smooth functioning of the transportation sector.-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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