The 6.5 percent across-the-board salary increase announced by the Senior Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh yesterday, when examined within the context of all the initiatives implemented this year, confirms that our government is people-centered.
As the Minister of Finance pointed out, the across-the-board salary increase will benefit 54,000 public servants and boost their disposable income by $7.9 billion. The minister also announced a one-month tax-free bonus that will benefit 12,000 members of the Disciplined Services and exceed $1.6 billion, thereby fulfilling the government’s promise.
These announcements come on the heels of other significant measures announced earlier this year and benefited our teachers, healthcare workers, members of the Disciplined Services, pensioners, and persons with disabilities.
Editor, teachers would have enjoyed a boost in disposable income, approximating $1.9 billion, from the adjustments to teachers’ salaries to address anomalies in their salary scale, increases in allowances, and salary increases granted to graduate teachers.
Meanwhile, Public Servants, Pensioners, and persons with disabilities would see their disposable income enhanced by $1.7 billion, $1.8 billion, and $650 million, respectively, from the one-off cash grant announced by the President last month.
When combined, the total impact of these initiatives on the disposable income of public servants and vulnerable groups is approximately $15.3 billion. It is important to note, Editor, that the 6.5 percent salary increase does not match but surpasses the overall annual inflation rate and food inflation.
In this regard, the salary increase nullifies the general price increases and puts public servants in a better position in real terms. This reflects a people-centered or caring government that is conscious of public servants’ prevailing challenges.
Additionally, the salary increases offered to public servants will serve as a significant incremental step towards bridging the private-sector and public-sector wage disparity that may emerge from the new oil and gas sector.
In closing, I wish to point out that increasing public servants’ real income cannot be done in one shot. Over time, however, these incremental increases will pay dividends by continuously enhancing real wages in the public sector.