By Stephen G. Fellajuah
The Teachers Association of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSSTA) has agreed to return to class today, October 17, after a dialogue with the Government of Liberia in which the government commit itself to address contentious salary payment and other benefit issues raised, before the end of October.
MCSS Teachers Association (MCSSTA) under the canopy of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) raised several issues, including delay by the govern to pay salaries, delinquency by government to remit insurance premium cut from their salaries and other benefits, which they MCSSTA said the government has paid no attention to address thereby causing the MCSS faculties in various schools to drop chalks, a situation which led to a mass and violent students protest in Monrovia on October 15, 2019.
President of MCSS Teachers Association, Mr. Veto V. Garway, said they were returning to class on Thursday (that’s today) because of “The solidarity the students had shown in standing with them and the assurance by government in settling 65% of their salary arrears in US and 35% in Liberian dollars before the end of October,
Addressing the Teachers situation during a dialogue held at the William V.S Tubman High School on 12th Street Sinkor in Monrovia, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Development Planning for Fiscal Affairs, Samora Wolokollie said, “Health workers, teachers and the security are priority for government payroll,” assuring that arrears to teachers will be paid before the end of October.
Deputy Minister Wolokollie said, before October, teachers will start receiving full salaries in Liberian dollars, because there are lots of delays in processing and paying the US dollars component of their salaries.
Deputy Minister Wolokollie explained that authorities heading the MCSS were not submitting their payrolls on time, which has caused more delay in the processing and disbursement of salaries for teachers.
He requested the submission of payrolls for teachers on or before the 10th of every month and Ministry of Finance Development Planning will start processing by the 25th.
Wolokollie clarified that the failure by government to pay 2, 200 teachers since July is either due to the lack of accounts for the teachers or National Identification numbers. He referred to those in the category as potential ghosts. He however assured that those categorized will be paid through checks, but will not receive salaries for October going forward if they do not establish accounts with any bank or ensure the taking of their National Identification cards.
Mr. Wolokollie said that insurance premium payment to the SAAR Insurance Company has been made for July and August, adding that the government is working tirelessly to ensure that issues surrounding teachers’ salaries are brought to regularity and proper to bed with mechanism put into place going forward.
The meeting was attended by proxy of the Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP); Minister of Education; Minister of Justice; President and officials of Monrovia Consolidated School System and National Teachers Association of Liberia, among others.
Also speaking, the Minister of Education, Prof. D. Ansu Sonii applauded the MCSSTA for their cooperation in making the dialogue a success. He urged the teachers to seek dialogue because dialogue is the best way of finding solutions to problems confronting them. Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean and other stakeholders also attended the meeting.