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Who’s leaving next?

-as more officials exit gov’t

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The Weah-led government is becoming increasingly unattractive for public service amid serious fiscal and economic challenges that have rendered the administration unable to pay salaries regularly, forcing officials to resign.
The government has suffered at least three resignations in less than a month ranging from a director, deputy director and a comptroller, respectively at three separate public entities.
The inability to pay salaries regularly seems to be crippling the smooth function of the government amid hints that more officials are expected to quit.

A senior executive of President George Weah’s governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) recently called for reshuffle in the administration, stressing that the “honeymoon” is over and it was time to move ahead with the serious business of governance.CDC lawmaker Moses Acarous Gray recently said it was now time to weed out non-performing or non-productive officials in the government and replace them by competent persons.

But critics say the government could well be shooting itself in the leg by embarking on such exercise. Since its ascendency, the ruling CDC has been in the business of sending lists of partisans to various public entities here for employment, including the Central Bank of Liberia, the Liberia Revenue Authority with the recent list of about two dozen partisans sent to the Liberia Aviation Authority, among others.

This exercise has seen the wage bill heavily bloated, which led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in September this year to call on the Liberian government to step up domestic revenue and rationalize spending, especially in the wage, while securing needed fiscal space for social and capital spending.

The IMF also called for further progress in public financial management reforms to improve the quality of spending in a resource-constrained environment, and for improvements in the business environment to attract high-quality, growth expanding investment.

“Staff welcomes the Liberian authorities’ determination to restructure the wage bill. This is a key policy reform needed to free up fiscal space and make a credible and viable budget possible, while also increasing transparency, accountability, and equity. It is noteworthy that all three branches of Government participated, and that the process yielded a progressive outcome, in that the burden was borne by the higher paid employees with the poorest benefiting from salary increases, including among teachers, health workers and line security forces.

The staff-level agreement is subject to fulfillment of significant prior actions in the fiscal and monetary areas that will need to be undertaken by the Liberian authorities. Assuming these are satisfied in a timely manner, it is anticipated that the IMF Executive Board could consider approval of Liberia’s formal request for financial support under the Extended Credit Facility as early as the first half of December 2019”, a statement issued by the IMF in September after a Staff-Level Agreement with the Liberian government read.

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