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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Liberian Presidency Spends $2.7 Million Yearly On Wages, Official Says

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By: Blamo N. Toe

The Deputy Minister of State for Presidential Affairs for Administration designate, Atty. Cornelia Kruah Togba has disclosed that over 730 non-civil servant names were discovered on a supplementary payroll at the entity following an assessment conducted.

Appearing for her confirmation hearing Wednesday, February 15, 2024 before the Senate Committee on Executive chaired by Maryland County Senator James Biney, the nominee said such payroll was privately managed by the Ministries of Finance and Development-Planning and State for Presidential Affairs under the former Coalition for Democratic Change government.

She said despite such a huge financial burden on the ministry, the institution also has 385 employees recognized by the Civil Service Agency as legitimate staff plus the over 730 unrecognized employees pushing the total staff to over 1,000.

She said the Senior Management Team of the Ministry of State is currently working with the Civil Service Agency and the Governance Commission to do a total assessment of the institution to ensure that staffers there effectively and efficiently work and resources of the country are actually used.

“We are currently working with the CSA and the Governance Commission to do a total assessment of the ministry so that we ensure that we do not just have employees at the Ministry of State but people’s time, energy and the positions contribute to the overall efficiency of the ministry and the resources of Liberia are used effectively,” she said.

The senior Executive Mansion nominee told Senators as a result of the over 730 extra employees, the ministry spends over $2.7 million United States dollars  annually only on salary but she expressed determination of the Senior Management Team to tackle those challenges upon her confirmation by the Liberian Senate.

“We believe that once we address these issues at the ministry that hosts the seat of the presidency, it’s easy for other ministries to mirror similar patterns or similar administrative decisions that are taken by the ministry,” Mrs. Togba said.

She added during their assessment, almost all of the systems were apparently not existent or not working, indicating the lack of a procurement arm of the ministry while there exists a procurement unit which has not worked over the last six years.

According to her, staffers at the ministry were individually doing their own procurements, while the institution also does not have an office space or a department responsible for the audit unit despite the presence of internal auditors thus making it impossible for transactions to be audited.

The Deputy Minister of State for Administration designate further revealed that assets of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs cannot be accounted for while the new management recently inherited a single vehicle, terming the situation as a huge challenge with accountability and transparency.

“And as a DMA designate of the Ministry of State, I can commit to you [the Senate Executive Committee] that we are committed to setting up system that will just bring accountability back to the presidency of the Ministry of State but to ensure that those that under the employ of the ministry are effective and efficient that we lead to the overall success of the Rescue Agenda.

As one of the ways of addressing some of the problems, Atty. Kruah Togba said the ministry is heavily overstaffed and as such, rightsizing could be considered.

According to her, retaining a total of over 1,000 staff at a single government entity as the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs in the absence of rightsizing then each staff will have to be placed in his or her specific position and do exactly according to that position.

Also speaking in the joint public confirmation hearing, the Minister of State Without Portfolio- designate at the Ministry of State, Mamaka Bility vowed to promote the agenda of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai.

Madam Bility bragged about her many years of experience working in the office of then Vice President now President of Liberia Joseph Boakai for at least six years, the job is not strange to her and promised to keep the presidency effective for the Liberian people.

At the same time, the Minister of State Without Portfolio for Special Services designate at the Ministry of State, Mr. Samuel A. Stevquaoh said if confirmed, he will serve as a liaison between the President’s Office and the Liberian Senate for a collaborative working relationship.

He noted that come to the job with extensive background in administration and management, worked in the United States of America and further served as Chief of Staff of former Vice President now President Joseph Boakai.

Mr. Stevquoah expressed confidence if confirmed to use his experience while serving as the Chief of Staff of the former Vice President Joseph Boakai.

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