Govt looking at long-term sustainability of salary increases – Public Service Minister

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Public Service Minister Sonia Parag

…assures salary, other benefits will continue to be boosted

The announcement of an eight per cent salary increase for public servants is premised on the long-term sustainability of salary increases, with Public Service Minister Sonia Parag assuring that the Government has the long-term interest of public servants at heart.

During a recent broadcast, Parag alongside her Cabinet colleague Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, spoke about the salary increases and referenced some of the calls from others like the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), for Government to grant a dramatically larger increase.

“You’re looking at a long-term situation. So, if you have a group of persons that fall within $40-$50,000, you have to be very economical in the way that you increase salaries. Because if something is to happen to any one of the sectors that help us to earn, tomorrow, how do we sustain it? So, sustainability is a big deal.”

“Therefore, when people argue that there should be this amount of increase and a 50 per cent increase, as the GPSU called for last year, I don’t believe it’s economical because you have to sustain it,” Parag said.

Minister Parag explained that the Government will be expected to roll out another increase next year. She assured that the Government will continue to improve the overall welfare of public servants and will not only be looking to provide them with an increase.

“Then next year you still have to give an increase, because the public servants are looking forward to them because they deserve it for the work that we do. But I want to say to public servants that this is of course just one phase. And next year comes again and we will continue to look after their lives.”

“And what is important to note is that when a country has to manage its purse, it has to manage it in a very smart and economical way. So, while you may give a cash grant to a specific category of workers, to cushion everything happening in the sector, with increases in wages and salaries, it’s a different thing,” Parag said.

On Thursday, President Dr Irfaan Ali announced an eight per cent salary increase for all public servants as his Government continues to implement measures to improve the lives of all Guyanese. He also explained that this increase will be retroactive to January 1, 2022.

“My Government will be paying an across-the-board increase of eight per cent to public servants, teachers, members of the Disciplined Services, constitutional office holders, as well as Government pensioners,” he declared.

According to the Head of State, work will commence immediately to ensure that this increase is processed and paid to eligible employees together with their December salary. In addition, the President also indicated that further announcements will be made regarding specific categories of public sector employees.

“I have instructed those options be identified for adjustment to the salaries paid to a number of specific categories of public sector employees. These include, in the first phase, ranks of the Police Force, Prison Service, and Fire Service.”

“Additionally, a similar exercise is currently being conducted and recommendations being made in relation to specific categories of employees in our public healthcare system, including nurses, interns, doctors, and other healthcare professionals,” the Guyanese Leader said.

President Ali posited that his Administration continues to place high value to the hard work that Government employees do every day in delivering services to the People of Guyana. To this end, he contended that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) regime is resolutely committed to ensuring that the lives of all Guyanese are improved steadily in a tangible and demonstrable manner as they work towards realising national prosperity for the benefit of everyone.