MONROVIA, Montserrado – President George Weah’s promise of ‘Change for Hope’ is hitting a mound as key officials of his government resign over frustrations of internal discord and unmet expectations similar to those which bedeviled past administrations.
The most recent case in point is J. Bernard Nagbe, comptroller at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, who resigned over frustrations that his salary and amenities are not being paid in a timely fashion.
In his resignation letter, which is now trending on social media, Nagbe lamented that “I am constrained to tender my resignation on ground of uncertainly with my salary and benefits. I am not receiving my remuneration on time and my service to the government and people of Liberia is not for free.”
The full extent of Nagbe’s frustration over the situation came rushing out to in a slightly unprofessional manner.
“I have never had this experience in my professional life and never am I prepare to endure this nonsense – I cannot and will never work without pay,” he said. “I am not willing to negotiate a minute or second of my time serving without pay. This is unbearable and I can no more tolerate the difficulty associated with caring for my family.”
“I have business relationships and owe almost everyone in the country and I can no longer endure this degree of difficulty,” he concluded.
It has become widely known that government employees are yet to receive their salaries for some last five to six months now.
This situation of ‘no pay’ has triggered one public protest and strike actions after another, from public school teachers to professors at the University of Liberia, workers of the Liberia Revenue Authority, to workers of the national water and sewage agency.
Nagbe’s resignation comes barely a day after the director at the National Bureau of Concessions, Gregory Coleman, also resigned his post on Nov. 25.
Other officials who have recently exited the Weah government include Elias Shoniyin, former deputy minister of foreign affairs; Tolbert Nyenswah, director-general of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia; and Dan T. Saryee, deputy managing director for technical services at the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation.
The Liberian government was recently forced into a stringent austerity program with the International Monetary Fund that requires drastic cuts in public expenditures, particularly the wage bill. This is despite recent government ‘harmonization’ exercise which, according to the finance minister, “saved the government some US$27 million.”
The IMF program was necessitated by rising inflation, increased cost of living, and slumping economic productivity. The government’s domestic and foreign indebtedness has reached record heights, as it lingers on the brink of insolvency.
Considering mounting economic challenges, the public can only speculate how many more resignations the government will suffer in the coming days and months, as it struggles to meet its obligation in salaries.
In a recent radio broadcast by Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah, the public was advised to brace for hardships. How difficult and for how long remains to be seen.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah