Editorial: Exercise Patience for Gradual Increment
On Monday, January 29, 2013, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf delivered to the 53rd Liberian Legislature, the State of the Nation Address in keeping with her Constitutional mandate. Among the socio-economic issues highlighted in the President’s Address was the increment in the salaries of Liberian Civil servants. She informed the nation about an increment of US$25.00 for civil servants, noting that such would be retroactive, beginning July 1, 2012. She told the nation that the action will not only affect civil servants, but also personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia, medical practitioners and other security agencies. The least salary currently earned by a civil servant is US$100.00.
According to the President, the increment could not take effect in July of 2012 without cleaning the payroll because of its over-crowdedness, and that an audit would have been conducted before any increment. While the audit exercise (which has already begun under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance, Civil Service Agency and General Auditing Commission) is underway, the increment has already been announced.
As a mark of her administration’s sincerity in the process, an ultimatum of ten days, beginning Monday, January 28, 2012, was given the Minister of Finance to ensure the implementation of the mandate. Hours following the State of the Nation address, the Civil Servants Association of Liberia rejected the US$25.00 retroactive increment as very little and unacceptable, further demanding a US$70.00 increment in the salaries of civil servants.
In as a much as we have already identify with the plight of our brothers, sisters and other relatives and friends in the public sector and would continue to do so, the leadership of the Civil Servants Association must also exercise the highest degree of responsibility in its advocacy on behalf of its membership. The CSAL must be cautioned against its “hardliner” approach, and that it would be in the best interest of all Liberian civil servants, were they to conduct themselves as leaders in a manner and form to attract the attention of the head of state for improvement not only in their salaries, but other benefits.
Even though the matter currently being raised by the leadership of the Association may be genuine, the radical posture taken would also further discourage efforts to restore hope to civil servants in the wake of the US$25.00 retroactive increment announced by the President. We admonish the CSAL leadership and civil servants to exercise patience and constructively engage the Executive Mansion so as to gradually augment the US$25.oo increment.