–with eight per cent retroactive, across-the-board salary increase
–adjusted salary scales for various categories of workers to be announced next week, President Ali says
AS part of its continued efforts to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of public sector workers, the government has approved an eight per cent retroactive salary increase for public servants, teachers, members of the disciplined services, constitutional office holders and government pensioners.
In a virtual address on Thursday evening, President, Dr Irfaan Ali said the increase will be granted retroactively to January 1, 2022.
He related that work will start immediately to ensure that the increase is processed and paid to eligible employees together with their December salaries.
“The commitment by my government comes against the backdrop of the several other measures we have implemented since assuming office, all with the aim of improving disposable incomes to public sector employees and Guyanese at large,” Dr Ali said.
Those measures include, among other things, the payment of a seven per cent across-the-board increase in 2021, the restoration of the one-month, tax-free, year-end bonuses to the disciplined services totalling more than $1 billion per annum, and an increase of about 40 per cent in the monthly old-age pension from $20,500 to $28,000, providing a total pension payout of more than $21 billion to senior citizens.
Additionally, there was an increase of 55 per cent in public assistance payments from $9,000 to $14,000 monthly, providing a total of more than $3 billion in annual income support to beneficiaries of the programme, restoration of the cash grants to the parents of school-aged children, increasing the amount provided for each child to $30,000 and extending the programme to children attending private schools.
“In total, this provides $6 billion of direct cash transfers to the parents of 200,000 schoolchildren and an increase in the minimum wage for private sector employees by 36 per cent to $60,147, in keeping with the recommendations of the tripartite committee,” President Ali related.
He added: “Needless to say, these and other similar measures augmented the many other steps taken by our government to remove the punitive taxes that had been imposed by APNU+AFC on electricity, water, medical and educational supplies, basic household necessities, and basic construction materials.”
Even in the reported absence of provisions to drive development, the coalition reportedly sought to restrict individual growth by imposing heavy taxes on the citizenry.
Aside from addressing the heavy taxation, President Ali said that his government remains mindful of the extraordinary shocks experienced this year concerning the cost of living, especially arising from importation factors.
“It would be recalled that we implemented a number of measures to mitigate the effects of these imported shocks. These include removal of the excise tax on fuel, capping the freight charges used in calculating import taxes, providing fertiliser and other support to farmers to boost food production, and direct cash transfers to especially vulnerable communities,” the Head of State said.
To add to the existing provisions, he has instructed that options be identified for adjustments to the salaries paid to several specific categories of public sector employees in phases.
“These include, in the first phase, ranks of the police force, the 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,” Dr Ali said.
He related that concerning adjustments to the salary scales, he plans to make a more detailed announcement during the course of next week.