Gov’t Launches Pilot Program to Pay Teachers’ Salaries via Mobile Money

GANTA, Nimba – The Assistant Minister for Fiscal Affairs and Human Resource Development at the Ministry of Education, Gbovadeh Gbilia, has launched a program to begin paying teachers’ salaries through the Mobile Money platform.

At the launch last weekend, Gbilia explained that the Ministry is finding innovative means to ensure that teachers can receive their salaries as conveniently as possible.

The Ministry is working in conjunction with LoneStar Cell MTN, which owns the mobile payment platform. Other partners involved in the project’s implementation include the Civil Service Agency, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, and USAID.

Gbilia said the government will cover the cost of cashing out of the Mobile Money system. “In effecting this process, the government of Liberia is making L$70 to the cash-out fee of every teacher enrolling in the Mobile Money service,” he said.

Ida McGill, an agent for LoneStar, explained that the process for signing up for Mobile Money was simple. “You just simply need to walk to any of our agents or point of services in your area with your phone and valid ID,” she added.

The project aims to prevent teachers from having to travel long distances to formal banking institutions to receive their salaries. Officials at the Ministry of Education have often complained that delay in teachers’ pay because of inadequate banking facilities can be disruptive to the learning process. In more remote parts of the countries, teachers sometimes spend days trying to withdraw their salaries. During this time, they tend to abandon their duties in the classroom.

While enrollment in the project is voluntary for teachers, those who sign up for the process are required to use the service for at least three months. Teachers also are encouraged to maintain their bank accounts at formal financial institutions during the trial period.

“You do not need to close your bank accounts that you are currently using at different banks,” Gbilia said. “Let your accounts remain opened in case you are tired of using the mobile money for your salary payment you can switch back. If you want to go back to use your bank accounts, send a one-month notice to the Ministry of Education through the offices of your DEO or CEO.”

The pilot project is expected to last for three months. The results from the trial will provide guidance for a possible extension. Gbilia said Nimba is the only county included in this project because it has the largest population of public school teachers.

Featured photo by Arrington Ballah

A resident of Ganta, Nimba County, Arrington has a background working with credit unions and other organizations dedicated to rural finance.

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