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Friday, June 21, 2024

LIBERIA: COMMERCE MINISTER SINGLY INCREASES INSPECTORS’ SALARIES – UNDERMINES GOVERNMENT’S HARMONIZATION POLICY

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Just days after failing to defend the budget of her Ministry for this budget year at the National Legislature, the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Mawine G. Diggs has unilaterally increased the salaries of a certain segment of the Ministry in blatant disregard to the Government Humanization policy.

In a Press Statement signed by the Ministry of Commerce Public Affairs Director Jacob Parley, the Minister announced upward adjustment in the salaries of 142 employees within the Ministry’s Inspectorate Division.

The statement says the salary increment takes effect as of February 2023.

The press statement points out that the increment affects 2 Regional Coordinators, 14 Senior County Inspectors, and 126 other inspectors.

Even though there was no Senior Management Team Meeting on this issue, the press statement notes that the action was taken in accordance with a recent decision reached by the Senior Management Team (SMT).

The statement states that the Regional County Coordinators at the Ministry who were previously earning a monthly salary of USD$260.00 (Two Hundred and Sixty USD) will now take USD$550.00 (Five Hundred and Fifty United States Dollars), representing  112% increment.

The statement further indicates that Senior County Inspectors who were earning USD$260.00 will now earn a monthly salary of USD$450.00 (Five Hundred and Fifty United States Dollars), representing 73% increment, while all other inspectors who were earning a monthly salary of USD$160.00 (One Hundred and Sixty United States Dollars) will earn USD$285.00 (Two Hundred and Eighty-Five United States Dollars), representing 78%.

According to the press release, the decision by Mawine G. Diggs is allegedly in line with ongoing efforts to step up effectiveness and productivity at the entity through motivation.

The statement did not say how Minister Diggs intends to finance the increment; however, it is alleged that the ministry has not been reporting all government taxes to the consolidated account at the Central Bank.

It is alleged that funds collected from the Monrovia Industrious Park (MIP) are being stored in the Ministry’s private account to which Madam Diggs is a signatory.

Pundits laugh off this unilateral decision by Madam Diggs; calling it unlawful and undermining the government’s harmonization policy.

However, a senior source at the Civil Service Agency who preferred not to be named, says there was no consultation with the agency in taking this decision.

While he would love the increment in civil servants’ salaries, our source points out that it has to be done systematically through the legal process that involves the President of Liberia, the Ministry of Finance, the National Legislature, and his agency.

Madam Diggs has been a very controversial official in the Weah Government who has been accused by her critics of allegedly using her close connection with the Liberian President to take unilateral actions at the ministry of commerce, some of which they say have not been consistence with the operations of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries.

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