Last Wednesday, the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism was a scene of cheers and dancing when about 200 employees were told by new Minister Eugene Lenn Nagbe that all employees have been absorbed on the Ministry’s Special Allowance (S.P.) listing.
Making the disclosure during an acquaintance meeting with the Ministry’s employees, Minister Nagbe stated that as a way of solving the mountainous problems at the ministry, he has decided to ensure that 98 employees of MICAT who were not receiving MICAT’s Special Allowance be absorbed on the S.P. listing. The Special Allowance is paid in United States dollars to complement the low regular government’s salary being paid to civil servants with the lowest being US$125.00.
The new MICAT boss told employees that he instituted the action with the cooperation of his co-ministers at MICAT because he believes in the welfare of employees, saying he believes in interaction at the work place with ordinary employees and that once everyone executes their functions diligently, that would make his work easier.
Amidst intermittent cheers, slogans of triumph and deafening hand-claps, Mr. Nagbe divulged that it was seriously disappointing to notice that a janitor at his former institution, the Ministry of Youth and Sports earned better Special Allowance than a Supervisor at MICAT. He said although the Civil Service Agency (CSA) has embarked on a process to rationalize government’s payroll but until that process is accomplished, his administration will do all it can to dignify employees by enhancing their welfare through wage increment.
Mr. Nagbe disclosed that some money will also be added to employees who are already taking Special Allowance at a low rate.
According to him, money realized to accommodate the 98 employees and augment the Special Allowance of other employees were deductions from targeted benefits/provisions of higher-ups, mainly presidential appointees at the ministry.
The former Minister of Transport however told the jubilating employees who defied the humid condition in the Graphic Arts Department (where the occasion was held) that after addressing their welfare, he would expect productivity of them. He then promised to organize a retreat in due course outside the ministry’s compound at which time employees will express their concerns and proffer suggestions/recommendations aimed at resuscitating their departments to make the ministry productive.
Several vital departments of the ministry including the government owned New Liberia newspaper, the Broadcasting Division, Television, Central Printing, among others are perpetually inactive due to what past administrations referred to as lack of budgetary support.
In 2006 upon assuming the mantle of leadership in Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led government introduced the Special Allowance component of remuneration for government workers. However, because of the obscured phenomenon attached in determining who should benefit from the S.P, heads of government ministries and agencies who were entrusted to determine beneficiaries allegedly used unorthodox methods and selected people they favored at the detriment of other employees at the same agencies.