Public sector received $83B in increases in wages per year under PPP/C – Jagdeo

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

The statistics released have shown that under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government from 2020 to now, public servants benefitted from as much as $83 Billion in increases annually, which is significantly more than the $43 Billion in increases they received under the APNU/AFC administration.

During his most recent press conference, Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo went armed with statistics of the actual increases in salaries that were issued to public servants from 2014, the last full year of the former PPP/C government’s time in office to 2019, the last full year of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change’s (APNU/AFC) time in office.

A perusal of the stats shows that in 2014, the public sector wage bill increased by $77.6 Billion encompassing central government, public enterprises and statutory bodies. In 2015, the year APNU/AFC took power, that number was $87.7 Billion. In 2016, the wage bill increased to $94.4 Billion, in 2017 by $103.3 Billion, in 2018 by $111.9 Billion and in 2019 by $121.2 Billion.

The public sector wage bill increased in 2020 by the PPP/C Government, marking an increase of $126.8 Billion. In 2021 that increase was $135.2 Billion, in 2022 it was $155.3 Billion, in 2023 it was $181.5 Billion and in 2024 it had reached $210.7 Billion.

However, the percentage stats reflect that from 2014 to 2019, wages increased by 56.1 per cent, while in 2020 to 2024 they increased by 66.1 per cent. According to Jagdeo, this is why it is important to look at the nominal value of the increase.

“We looked at the wages and its self-explanatory. The wages between 2014 and 2019, the APNU period, and it was a 56 per cent increase. And from 2020 to 2024, its 64.1 per cent increase. So, in the four years we’ve gotten more. A 10 per cent more increase than APNU.”“But… often times you have to look at the nominal value. You can’t just look at the per centage. So, what’s this nominal value? So, increase in 2014 to 2019, was $43 Billion. So, when they started in 2014, by 2019 the wage bill for these three areas had gone up by $43 Billion,” he said.

Jagdeo also pointed out that the average increase of $83 Billion under the PPP/C’s tenure, would reflect a 100 per cent increase on the average that was recorded in APNU/AFC’s time. Further, he noted that increased oil and gas revenue means more money for public servants.

“Guess how much it went up to from 2020 to 2024? The increase has been $83 Billion. More than a hundred per cent more than what APNU gave for the five years. Because its nominal dollars. Every year, the base grows. It’s bigger.”

“So, when you calculate your percentage on a 2014 or 2015, its smaller sums of money. But since we got in to office, the public sector in their pockets have gotten $83 Billion more per year,” Jagdeo added.

Public employees have received the following salary increases from the PPP Government since its return to office in August 2020: seven per cent in 2021, eight per cent in 2022, and 6.5 per cent in 2023.

Additionally, the Government raised the income tax threshold from $65,000 to $75,000 in 2022 and then to $85,000 in 2023. It also reinstated the one-month tax-free bonus that was given to members of the Disciplined Services at the end of the year.

In November 2023, President Dr Irfaan Ali had announced salary increases, incentives and allowances for teachers, a $25,000 one-time bonus for all public employees and pensioners, and a one-off $35,000 cash bonus for persons with disabilities (PWDs), all to be paid in December.

Approximately 67,000 public employees are estimated to have benefitted from this one-time bonus including teachers, employees of semi-autonomous organisations, and members of the Disciplined Services. A total of 19,000 PWDs and as much as 72,000 pensioners are expected to have benefitted.

Other initiatives taken by the PPP government that have benefitted Guyanese, including public servants, are increased allocations to the education sector, expanded school feeding programme, increase in Because We Care vouchers for children and provision of more than 21,000 scholarships under the Guyana Academy of Online Learning, of which 20 per cent have gone to teachers.

They have also distributed more than 30,000 house lots and initiated a part-time jobs programme that is placing incomes into the hands of 15,000 workers. These measures, the government has noted, are aimed at empowering workers, enhancing the well-being of their families and contributing to the flourishing of the nation.