I would like to bring to your attention a few issues I believe should be addressed before the passing of the budget this year.
Young people are taught that Education is the key to success. It is integral in ensuring that we become productive citizens that can contribute to the development of our beloved country, Guyana. Many youths would attend the University of Guyana to further their studies, and then seek employment in the private and public sectors.
I have worked for a number of years in the private sector and am currently in the public sector for 3 years. The private and public sectors offer numerous advantages and a few disadvantages, but within the public sector, I believe there should be some sort of reform concerning the pay scales and promotions.
The current APNU/AFC Government has made credible changes to the wages and salaries of public servants in their short tenure. The minimum wage increased from approximately $39,000 to $65,000. This was a great initiative and I applaud the Government for this.
My concerns are:
1) The Public Service Commission (PSC) has rules regarding appointments and promotions of public servants. I believe revisions should be made in these 2 areas. With the influx of young professionals into the public sector, many of them are being stifled. This is mainly due to the fact that the PSC merits experience above qualifications.
For example, if Mary Jane is 25 years old with a Bachelor of Science degree, she is offered a junior or entry level position. Her supervisor would most likely be Mr. John Jones 50 years old with a Diploma and 20+ years’ experience in the field.
I sincerely respect the “veterans” in the public service. If they are promoted to managerial positions without the necessary academic qualifications, it should be mandatory that he/she complete their studies so that they can be “fit and proper” for the position. Since, if Mary Jane recommends changes in the department, it will not be considered. This is one of the reasons for the brain drain in Guyana, especially in the medical field.
Secondly, the medical profession in Guyana has not earned the respect and remuneration equivalent to the qualifications and experience needed. Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists and the most overlooked profession – Medical Technologists – are severely underpaid in the Public Health system compared to our Caribbean neighbours.
Medical Technologists aide in the treatment and diagnosis of patients – we are the unsung heroes in the medical system. Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacists all depend on Medical Technologists to do their laboratory investigations which will guide them on various treatment methods necessary.
In the recently published vacancy circular, it was noted that numerous positions such as Medical Technologists, Pharmacists, EHOs and Registered Nurses are paid on the GS 7 Scale: 95,387 (gross income) and 81,000 (net income). All of the positions mentioned require a Bachelor’s Degree.
The average tuition fee for a diploma at the University of Guyana in a health-related field is approximately $240,000 in addition to a $50,000 Miscellaneous fee. A Bachelor’s degree programme is approximately $360,000 in addition to $50,000 Miscellaneous fee per academic year, excluding Medicine and Law programmes.
To the Chairman of the Public Sector Commission, Honourable Ministers of the Presidency, Health and Finance: If a recent graduate from UG took student loans to finance their education, has utility bills, rent, hire purchase and car loans to pay, $81,000 is inadequate. The money spent on obtaining a University education outweighs the remuneration, thus resulting in limited spending and saving powers.
Many youths especially in the Medical Technology field, are unable to privately further their studies to the Masters and PhD levels since scholarships are limited. Lack of opportunities for promotion, poor wages and no risk/uniform allowances will continue to negatively affect the productivity we expect in the Public System. Since within the last year, I have seen young, vibrant, qualified persons leave Guyana due to financial limitations.
I believe each pay scale under the PSC should be revised and increased. My suggestions are that persons with a Bachelor of Science Degree, despite lack of experience, should start on the GS: 11 scale. Doctors should start on the GS: 12 scale. If you have a certificate or diploma – GS: 10 scale. Both Qualifications and experience should be taken into consideration.
It is my hope that my sentiments gain the attention of the respective authorities and some positive action is taken.
Frustrated Public Servant
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