The President of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), the Rev. Dr. Kortu Brown, has expressed concern over the current salary harmonization process with the Finance Ministry and said that the process is untimely and unreasonable. The Apostolic bishop of the New Water In the Desert Apostolic (NWIDA) Ministries said the huge wage bill of the government is the making of the government which is now affecting the ordinary civil servants.
Rev. Dr. Brown indicated that as a nation, Liberia will always have challenges, sometimes created by the ruling class, saying that whenever these challenges come the ordinary people are the ones carrying the pain.
The Apostolic Bishop spoke yesterday, Tuesday, in an exclusive Interview with The ANALYST at the Headquarters of New Water in the Desert Apostolic Ministries in Brewersville.
Rev. Brown indicated that the Present Challenge concerning the cut of salaries of civil servants has exposed the country to serious economic consequences; and opined that it was wrong on the part of the government to have added more burden on the payroll of government at the time people in state bureaucracy have already complained of a broken economy.
Before the CDC Government took over the mantle of state governance, Rev. Brown indicated that the payroll of Government contained about forty-four thousand workers, which this administration thereafter overloaded by increasing the payroll to seventy thousand persons/workers.
He maintained that this increase of the payroll by some thirty thousand workers that were not in government has seriously affected the national budget for this mishap the government is trying to harmonize salary.
The Salary issue, Rev. Brown continued, is about productivity and is also an issue of contraction which one group of people should not one morning decide to harmonize without seeking the consent and approval of the Legislature who are the direct representatives of the people.
He lashed out at the government economic management team, especially the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning, that they should not have embarked on the harmonization of salaries of civil servants without legislative consent neither should they have done so against the budgetary laws and the constitution of the country.
Rev. Brown said the issue of cutting civil servants’ salary without the passage of the budget and/or approbation of the Legislature is an offence against the Constitution of the Country which says such authority lies with the Legislature, saying that the Ministry of Finance is not the one to decide on budgetary issues, meaning that the ministry of finance undermines the rule of law.
“If we don’t follow the Rule of Law as a country, it will be difficult to function,” Rev. Brown indicated saying, “Our country has to avoid arbitrary actions that will allow anyone to blot out any portion of the budget that is not yet approve by the people through the National Legislature and use it for any unapproved reason.”
The LCC President also commended the action by the Legislature in the last few days. “I think the legislators have been inquisitive; they been asking questions about what is happening, and I think it is important because ordinary people are saying that the government is cutting their salary which should obligate the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to explain on this matter,” Rev. Brown said.
Wondering why the people’s salaries must be cut at a time schools are about to resume and at the same cancelled three-day-free call from the people, Rev. Brown asserted, “The Ministry of Finance has to harmonize the issues well because we cannot transfer all the pains on the common people just as it was on the common people during the civil wars and during the Ebola crisis that anytime crisis entered the country, the common people usually bear the pains of the making of others, this attitude must stop”. he said.
At the same time, the Liberia Council of Churches condemn the action by the government and Liberia Telecommunications Authorities about the cancellation of the three-day-calls program offered the people by the GSM companies operating in the country.
“This action buys into the same concern we have; the three-day-free calls is cancelled because the country is facing problem with revenue generation so the government has preferred the common people to suffer because they need money.
He suggested an economic release program when the country is going through economic situation like this, and not to take it on the common people. “We can see that in other countries, this is how they fine remedy to their problem.
He said three-day free call campaign was launched years back to ease the communication burden on the common people. He averred that even though it was not totally free, it not withstanding helped Liberians citizens.
Rev. Brown then called on government to restore the three-day free calls and at the same time endeavor to salvage some of the burdens that the people are faced with.