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After denying that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had promised public servants a 50% increase in the lead up to the 2020 Elections, Minister of Public Service Sonia Parag returned to the National Assembly on Tuesday to promise another increase in salaries this year.
It was after approximately two years of no increases, that public servants, in the latter part of 2021, were given a 7% pay hike.
Minister Parag, while debating the $552.9B in the National Assembly on Tuesday, assured the House that there will be incremental increases to public servants’ wages and salaries each year.
“Don’t stand here and tell this government that they don’t care about public servants. Every single year there will be money allocated under 6131 for public servants. So, don’t mislead the nation by saying nothing is in here for public servants,” Minister Parag said in response to contention by the Opposition that Budget offers public servants little or nothing.
She reminded that in addition to the 7% increase in wages and salaries, which was offered in 2021, the Irfaan Ali Administration, shortly after taking Office in August 2020, gave public servants a one-off $25,000 bonus in December.
The Public Service Minister said it was the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Administration that offered its Ministers a 50% in their salaries months after entering Government. She nonetheless admitted that public servants benefited from a number of increases under the Coalition Government, but contended that there were consequences.
“Salary increases were given yes, by the APNU+AFC but what did they do; they deliberately as opposed to us, they deliberately raised the cost of living by pushing on the backs of every Guyanese, taxes on 200 items, basic taxes, deliberate moves to raise cost of living. So they gave with one hand and snatch with the other hand throughout the five years,” Minister Parag told the House.
However, the records show that since the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration took Office in August 2020, there has been a significant rise in cost of living, and food prices. In presenting the 2022 Budget to the National Assembly last Wednesday, Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh reported that food prices alone rose by approximately 11.6% in 2021.