By Lagee A. Kamara
MONROVIA-The Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), has admitted that they are indebted to their workers three months’ salary but blamed COVID 19 outbreak as cause of the delay in payment.
Ernest Sharpe, the communication head recently spoke on Freedom FM.
“We got hit and there is a serious drop now of passengers flow, prior to COVID we have approximately on the average monthly 12,000 plus persons flying throughout the terminal in and out of Liberia, but today we are talking 3,000 persons” he said.
He added that on the over all, of those persons that were traveling, they were able to raise the amount of approximately 1.3 million United States Dollars.
He was quick to say, “Today we are talking 500,000.00 United States Dollars which is almost like a 70% drop in our revenues.”
Sharpe further mentioned that with the numbers of persons employed in the Liberia Airport Authority it speaks to the facts that they have seriously shifted downwards in their income which has impeded facilitating their operational and salary cost.
He added that up to date, they have a serious challenge running the Airport in terms of operational cost, indicating that monthly they used about US850,000 for both salary and operational cost.
He said before the COVID they were in line with their salary, they did not owe workers, but at current they owe their staffs three months.
According to Sharpe this is due to limitation in travels which is a major source of getting funds.
“The fact that lot of people are not traveling we have a serious reduction in flight that is already hampering the source of revenue generation at the Liberia Airport Authority,” the LAA Communication boss said.
He added that, “It is no secret that we are faced with problems in raising revenue, in handling our salaries and operational cost.”
He furthered that the Liberia Airport Authority has 815 persons in their employ specifically the Robert International Airport (RIA), which he said they have maintain throughout the COVID 19 crisis.
He praised the center government for helping to manage their operational cost and salary through it harmonization process, stating, “Although the LAA is an autonomous agency, but the center government is helping them to stay maintain and meet up to the standards of other airports in the world.
In furtherance, he said despite the economic constrains they are faced with; they trained paying their workers and fell short of the payment of the workers’ three months salary.