Dec 11, 2013 News
In light of government’s explanation through the Finance Minister that money designated for public servants did not serve only for the increase of public servant’s wages, the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) has requested from the Finance Ministry a detailed explanation of the spending of the budget -approved funds.
President of the Guyana Public Service Union, Patrick Yarde has dispatched a letter to several top officials in the country, including President Donald Ramotar, Leader of the Opposition, David Granger, and Speaker of the National Assembly and the Ministers of Labour and Human Services Nanda Gopaul and Jennifer Webster respectively.
A statement from the union said that “The Guyana Public Service Union has taken action to request of the Government of Guyana as represented by the Minister of Finance, for pertinent details of expenditure under the Account Code entitled “Revision of Wages and Salaries” for which $4.4 billion dollars were provided and from the Permanent Secretary, Public Service Ministry, for information related to the payment of all contract employees in the Public Service that are paid from allocations approved in the Estimates of the Public Sector-Current and Capital Revenue and Expenditure for 2013.”
Yarde told Kaieteur News yesterday that the Finance Minister must go into detail on how the budgeted funds were spent. He explained that one noticeable issue with public servants payment is that permanent workers are being sidelined, while in other cases they are being removed for pensionable positions and placed on contracts. He explained that while this could be allowed, the system is being abused. He added also that these persons when removed from fixed positions and placed on contracts, would only receive gratuity up to the time when they would worked at their fixed post.
Contract workers outside of fixed positions, it was also explained, are sometimes being paid three and four times more than what a public service staff would receive. Yarde said that the union had intended a long time ago to request a paper trail identifying the pattern in which public workers money is being spent. The request also comes about, Yarde said, since the government- since January -has refused to respond to letters requesting information on all contract workers. Again, Yarde is convinced that the contracting system is being abused and could contribute to the squandering of money for public workers.
The union said that it has taken note that in the Annual Budget 2013
under the heading, “Abstract of Current Expenditure Account Code 6141 Revision of Wages and Salaries, the sum of $4.4B was allocated by the National Assembly (for the public sevants).
The government has been accused of withholding half of the budgeted funds, while arbitrarily imposing a five percent increase. An arbitrary increase has been the state of affairs for the past 12 years, without the relevant consultations between the workers representatives and the government.
The Administration has however defended that the designated budgeted funds is not only for the purpose of workers increase but caters also for shortfalls, promotions and additional workers. Minister Ashni Singh explained that while a sum is budgeted for current workers, the revised aspect of wages would also be used for newly hired staff and promotions. Khemraj Ramjattan, parliamentarian and opposition member dismissed Singh’s claim, stating that increases are already embedded in the allocations to public servants already on the payroll. He suggested further that even if funds were used from the revised amount for public servants pay, enough money should be left over to pay workers more than five percent.
Nationwide protest has gripped the country with public servant workers downing tools on a daily basis, hitting the streets in refusal of the “arbitrary” five percent increase.
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