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Wage harmonization delays budget

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Liberia’s Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah says wage harmonization in various governmental institutions is a factor responsible for the delay in the submission of the 2019/2020 national budget to the Legislature.

He made the comment at a news conference at Finance Ministry Monday, 24 June when a team of experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) paid him a courtesy visit.

The IMF experts’ visit at the Ministry was in conclusion of their two weeks extensive interaction with key stake actors in Monrovia, meeting key government institutions including the Legislature.According to Minister Tweah, on the fiscal side, the program demands that government has a credible budget.

But he says one of the reasons why government hasn’t submitted the budget is because some revolutionary exercise is being taken which is wage harmonization and not wage cut.”
Minister Tweah explains that wage across government institutions has been descriptional, adding that certain group of people were making higher than their colleagues.
He says when the new government of President George Manneh Weah came to power, it decided to halt and abort such situation.

According to him, the Civil Service Agency (CSA), the Finance Ministry and other relevant agencies have worked to produce what could not have happened for the past eight to nine years.

Notwithstanding he says the budget will be submitted to the president by Tuesday, and probably by Wednesday it will be submitted to the Legislature.

Minister Tweah discloses that the discussion with the team of experts from the IMF was centered around three cardinal areas of programs including credible budget, monetary policy and strong governance measures.

He notes that there are negotiations that are still ongoing, but government has made significant progress in some areas of development.

For her part, the Deputy Division Chief of IMF’s Western Two Division of the African Department Ms. Mika Saito says the Mission observes series of external shocks including a fall in key commodity prices, the lingering effects of the deadly Ebola, and the rapid depreciation of the exchange rate here.

According to her, the difficult economic conditions and loss of purchasing powers have been felt particularly by the most vulnerable members of the society, many of whom are experiencing significant hardship.

The Deputy IMF Chief further notes that the success of the reform agenda is predicated on the adoption of a credible and executable budget for fiscal year 2020 and beyond.
Ms. Saito concludes that participation within all groups of the public sector is essential to support the reform agenda.
By Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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