LIBERIA: ‘We are Dying Slowly, Slowly’ -FDA employees want US$500,000 retirement benefit

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At least 34 retired Forestry Development Authority(FDA) employees said to be denied their just retirement benefits since 2018 are calling on President Joseph Nyuma Boakia through FDA Managing Director Rodulph Merab and Finance Minister Boakia Karama to quickly intervene and save them from what they call “total collapse’.

They noted rather regrettably that because of the inhumane attitude meted against them by the Weah- led Government by denying them their retirement package made available by the government of Norway in the tone of over half a million dollars, they’ve lost every tissue of hope and that life has become like a punishment for them. “We are slowly, slowly dying and if nothing is done to rescue us from this calamity we will all collapse one by one.”

The employees, few of who have died out of frustration for ” keeping us in poverty hell” are calling on the Boakia rescue government to intervene and rescue them from falling prey to death.

In a letter addressed to the FDA newly appointed Managing Director, Rudolph Merab the employees said they were disgracefully discharged from the entity after being made to sign a waiver and release agreement against their will on the seventh of August 2018. The employees said since the signing of the agreement with the understanding that their retirement package was being made available by the government of Norway, they’re yet to receive a penny, although out of the sixty six retirees who signed the release and waiver document, only thirty two persons were paid and honored at an elaborate program held on December 21, 2018.

It can be recalled that the government of Norway provided a total of 1.2M to FDA excluding the provision of over two hundred thousand dollars for operations to honorably retire men who had rendered services to the government of Liberia at the level of the FDA for more than twenty five years. The letter continued, ” the irony here is that the fund meant to retire us did not come from the coffer of the government of Liberia, but a foreign government, who in a Godly attitude chose to retire us honorably. They said since 2018 all efforts exerted with prominent personalities and Foundation for Human Rights Defense, House committee on Agriculture and forestry as well as the ministry of labour to get redress have proved futile.

“Some of our members are sick and have nothing to seek medical attention and some have died out of frustration”, the letter furthered. “Our children are out of schools; all our youthful days were spent working for FDA; we were treated by the then administration as if our contributions were useless” the letter concluded. They are therefore hoping that the Boakia administration will do all it can to save them from total collapse.

Last week Friday the newly appointed Managing Director officially took over the mantle of the entity pledging to depoliticize the area and realign it so that it becomes a truly revenue generation place for government. Mr. Merab said he would not avail his ears to gossipers, impressionists, fakers and liars as such people are not healthy for the. growth and development of any entity. He promised to upgrade the entity consistent with the confidence reposed in.him.by the president.

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