By Penpusher Sesay
The habit of some people, be they civil servants or not, doing clandestine acts in sequencing and syphoning two or more monthly salaries from the consolidated fund was and is bizarre and uncalled for. The dire need and efforts put out by the past government and the current one in trying to curb this strangely unconventional style of corrupt behaviour by those unpatriotic folks/ghost workers was timely and meaningful.
Government, in curbing these practices, undertook a nation-wide civil servants verification exercise in concomitant with the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) the previous year, to clean the government wage bill.
It is however a truism that a lot of abnormalities were discovered during the weeks long verification of government workers, culminating in the withholding of salaries of over 9000 civil servants since May 2019, to date.
On July 2019, the government, through NCRA, undertook another rigid reverification exercise to accordingly rectify all abnormalities discovered in order to restore these workers into the government wage bill permanently. These affected civil servants cut across the Sierra Leone Police, the Army, Prison, Teachers, Nurses and other public sectors.
Unfortunately for these civil servants, who had spent over millions to get all necessary documentations to be re-verified by NCRA and for their salaries to continue running and backlogs to be paid, the situation remains the same.
Disappointedly, the hopes of these workers have submerged and there are no certainties as to whether they are going to receive September’s salaries and are currently facing serious financial challenges and hiccups to provide the basic meals for their families.
As the days pass by the plight of these workers is aggravated with the absence of any sign of any solution in sight.
It is apparent that things get worrisome, especially with the re-opening of schools and the absence of any assurance of their children being able to attend school this academic year, due to the financial challenges of their parents and guardians and their inability to shoulder the bills of buying bags, uniforms, books, shoes and to attend to other pressing home needs.
In lieu to this, they’re calling on His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio and the Minister of Finance, Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa and the government to come to their aid and ameliorate their suffering, as they are currently going through difficult times trying to make ends meet, especially when the living conditions of Sierra Leoneans is extremely tough and the current economic hardship is posing serious threat to the employed not to talk of the unemployed.