Public sector wages & salaries increased by $90B since 2020 – VP

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

The Government of Guyana in its push to tackle unemployment has employed thousands of professionals since 2020 leading to a massive increase in recurring expenditure of wages and salaries.

According to Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo the cost of paying central government, statutory bodies and public corporations’ salaries has grown from $120 billion in 2020 to $210 billion in 2024.

“That’s a massive growth in public sector wages,” he said during his weekly press conference on Thursday, adding that this sum needs to be financed in the future regardless of revenue flow.

The Vice President was at the time responding to questions surrounding the government’s ability to increase teachers’ salaries.

He noted that the number of teachers has increased by 2,000 since 2020, which should be considered by the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU).

“They ignore the fact, even in the education sector, how much we are spending, from $54 billion to $135 billion, they ignore the fact that 6,000 of the 14,000 teachers are either studying now to earn more salary, and…we’ve hired 2,000 since we came into office,” he told reporters.

In order to pay the sum being demanded by the GTU, Jagdeo questioned “should we reduce the number of teachers and then take the same money we are paying and double teachers salaries?”

He added that an increase in salary for teachers will require an increase for other public servants including police officers, doctors, nurses and others.

Several teachers are currently on strike for more money. This is a second round of industrial action this year with the earlier being in February for which the government is seeking the court’s intervention to deduct monies from the salaries of those striking teachers for being absent from work.

The Attorney General Chambers recently filed an appeal, challenging the local courts’ decision that the administration has no right to make the deductions.

Jagdeo on Thursday said he is “worried” about the amount of teachers who will be affected if the court rules in the Government’s favour.

Moreover, he promised that an increase in revenue to the country from its oil and non-oil resources will see public servants receiving a higher income.

“The revenue flow in future years, if sustained maybe through the Sovereign Wealth Fund when invested, will be able to sustain higher levels of renumeration. In the future, you will be able to see more increase in wages and salaries,” he noted.