Tybalt S. Jimmie

Tybalt S. Jimmie
Corporate Communication Officer
Tybalt S. Jimmie Corporate Communication Officer
Photo Credit: NTA

Contact and emails:  0886- 570-812 / 0777- 526-049 / jtybalt83@gmail.com

 

NEW NTA DEPUTIES AGREE TO 25% PAY CUT, REDUCTION OF GASOLINE BENEFIT

 

Monrovia – President George Manneh Weah’s pro-poor agenda exemplified by the slash of his salary and benefits by 25 percent is worth emulating, some officials of his government believe.

In this regard, the newly appointed Managing Director of the National Transit Authority (NTA) in a press conference on Tuesday disclose that he and his principal deputies have agreed to cut their salaries and benefits in support of the President’s agenda. 

According to Herbie McCauley, their salaries would be cut by 25 percent while gasoline supply would be reduced by 50 gallons monthly. 

“The Managing Director is reducing 25% from his salary on monthly basis.

His deputies and other employees including the comptroller and corporate affairs manager have also decided to reduce their salaries by 10% per month,” Mr. McCauley disclosed. 

According to him, the reduction would save US$21,600 annually, while 3,300 gallons of fuel amounting to US$10,890 per annum would also be saved. 

“Hence a total of US$32,490 will be saved and channeled to increasing the salaries of staffs that are making below the amount of US$200.00 per month,” he said. 

McCauley told reporters that as part of his first 150 days plan, he intends strengthening partnership with countries like India to help revamp the NTA and ensure that transportation needs of the commoners are addressed. 

He said he inherited 34 buses but has only 15 operational.

“The rest of the other fleet need repairs and we need to invest heavily in those other buses,” he added. 

According to him, as a means of making transportation available through the NTA in all parts of the country, his administration is considering setting up outstations in Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties.

 

 

New NTA Leadership Met Only 17 Functional Buses

PAYNESVILLE, Montserrado – A Bush Chicken investigation has established that despite several boosts to the National Transit Authority during the Sirleaf administration, the incoming administration inherited an agency with only 17 functional buses, down from 55.

A look around Monrovia during rush hour reveals a high demand for low cost transportation options. There is often limited capacity on the small shared taxis that frequent the city’s main corridors and clog up traffic.

A reasonable alternative for some commuters would be the NTA’s bus services, which charge much lower fares across the city and with its higher capacity, could help reduce the traffic on Monrovia’s roads.

However, a lack of proper maintenance of the agency’s fleet has left the new leadership constrained, according to the new management.

After a 2015 donation of 20 buses by the Turkish government through its development arm, the Turkey Cooperation and Coordination Agency, TarnueJeke, the NTA managing director at the time, said the new buses brought the total fleet to 55 functional buses.

“The additional buses were meant to contribute significantly to the country re-fleeting strategy, consistent with keeping the same brand as best management of maintenance, servicing and spare parts,” Jeke said at the time.

Unfortunately, despite the boost to the public transport sector of the country those donations and others provided, most of the buses now have mechanical problems, and with spare parts difficult to find in Liberia, it is difficult to spot the buses on the roads.

Visits to NTA’s compound over the course of several days showed that many of the buses have developed mechanical problems and were not mobile. Some of the buses appeared to have been cannibalized for spare parts and the empty shells of buses are littered on the compound.

The new management says it has attempted to get some of the buses back on the road by having its mechanics use spare parts from the defunct buses to fix others.

Tybalt S. Jimmie, the corporate communications officer for the NTA, told The Bush Chicken that even though the new management “inherited a broken entity” it has been able to augment the 17 functional buses it met to 32. He said those vehicles are now plying different routes in Monrovia and acrosss the country.

He added that NTA currently has 11 buses running daily in counties such as Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Nimba, Bong, and Margibi. The Grand Gedeh and Lofa routes, he said, have been halted because of the bad road conditions in the areas.

Even though the agency is managing to optimize its limited resources, Jimmie said NTA does not have suffient funds because “the past management left the entity in huge financial deficit.”

He said if the entity’s proposed 2018-2019 budget is approved as it is, it will be a significant boost and allow the agency to purchase additional buses. The draft budget submitted by the exectutive branch to the legislature appropriated US$1.5 million for the agency.

In March, the government recast the budget and included US$200,000 for NTA under its “Pro-Poor Projects.” Jimmie said the funds are being used to purchase spare parts from India.

Even as the NTA is seeking more funds for its operations, it continues to charge extremely low rates in comparison to other modes of transportation.

“The NTA is still collecting L$15 [US$0.11] from passengers in the Monrorovia municipality,” Jimmie noted. The flat fare charged for travel across the Monrovia metropolitan area has remained the same for several years now and for some distances (such as from Red Light to Central Monrovia), it is almost ten times cheaper than the fares charge by the more prevalent shared taxis.

But Jimmie said the agency is not a profit making institution and any change in fares would require consultation with the public, the president, and lawmakers.

“Whatever is generated is used by management for gasoline, fuel, and to purchase spare parts for the buses,” he said.

NTA’s job, he added, is to provide affordable and effective transport to the Liberian people.