Leader of the Alliance for Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, has said that contrary to what the government is preaching there is sufficient money available in Government’s financial system for a 15 percent increase for public servants.
As opposed to the arbitrary five per cent increase being handed to them yearly, which many
minimum wage public servants have cried is not sufficient to address the increased cost of living, Government’s contention is that there is simply not enough money to allocate beyond five percent for public servants. This has led to the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) initiating protest action for an increase.
According to Ramjattan there is enough money and one just has to logically work it out. He said, “At the beginning of the year, we were told that the Government has only money to the tune of $209B which it will expend this year. The Opposition then made cuts and reduced this by in excess of $30B.”
It therefore means that the money is there, with proper authorization and following of protocol the sums cut could’ve been used for increasing wages and salaries.
Ramjattan said, “Government ended up seeking approval for an amount in excess of $10 B in three financial papers in December, recently. Where did this sum of money come from? The system, of course! It is there alright! But Government does not want to find it for Public Servants. It found these supplementary sums totaling in excess of $10B, however, for other purposes.”
Ramjattan further contends that a 15 percent increase can be garnered from bringing a halt to the wastage and “haemorrhaging” of public funds through corrupt procurement processes to friends and family and favourites.
“The pharmaceutical sector alone could have saved approximately $1.8 Billion if special treatment is not given to a special friend of the Government. If we had the Procurement Commission operational, Cabinet could not have been able to grant these pharmaceutical awards to that supplier.
“A fair process would have seen reduced prices for such supplies from other suppliers. That saving would have been sufficient to increase the public servants wages and salaries to the amount demanded,” said Ramjattan.
According to the AFC Leader, the pharmaceutical sector is just one example of corruption and wastage, “corruption happens in all sectors in the procurement sphere.”
Ramjattan further contends that “the various revenue streams are not properly accounted for. Like monies from GGMC (Guyana Geology and Mines Commission), the Forestry Commission, National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) Lotto Funds etc are not being put into the Consolidated Fund.
“If put, as we argued at the Budget Debate, we may see an amount approximating between $35 B and $50 Billion! Imagine what use that amount of monies can be put to.”
According to Ramjattan if corruption wasn’t so rampant across the board in this current administration, then billions of dollars more could be saved, something he says that Guyanese must appreciate, since it is “the greatest source of their impoverishment and most substantial activity for the enrichment of the sultanate, our new maharajahs and sahibs.”
He said that if given the chance to participate in a tripartite Budget process, the AFC can “find money, lots of money. That is why Government does not want us, or APNU, in that process.”
The leader of the AFC said that public servants “should continue the protests just like how sugar workers had struggled, and finally public servants will win out! There is inevitable success in a worthy and just cause against modern day tyrants! All Guyana must give them solidarity and show fraternity….rice farmers, businessmen, self-employed all everyone!”
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