When examined within the context of all initiatives implemented this year, the 6.5 percent across-the-board salary increase announced by the Finance Minister yesterday confirms that our Government is people-centred.
As the Minister pointed out, the across-the-board salary increase will benefit 54,000 public servants, and boost their disposable income by $7.9 billion. The Minister also announced a one-month tax-free bonus that would benefit 12,000 members of the Disciplined Services and exceed $1.6 billion, thereby fulfilling the Government’s promise.
These announcements come on the heels of other significant measures announced earlier this year, in which our teachers, healthcare workers, members of the Disciplined Services, pensioners, and persons with disabilities benefited.
Editor, from adjustments made to teachers’ salaries to address anomalies in their salary scale, teachers have enjoyed a boost in disposable income approximating $1.9 billion, increases in allowances, and salary increases have been granted to graduate teachers.
Public servants, pensioners and persons with disabilities have meanwhile seen their disposable incomes enhanced by $1.7 billion, $1.8 billion and $650 million respectively from the one-off cash grant announced by the President last month. When combined, the total impact of these initiatives on the disposable income of public servants and vulnerable groups is approximately 15.3 billion.
It is important to note, Editor, that the 6.5 percent salary increase does not match, but surpasses the overall annual inflation rate and food inflation. In this regard, the salary increase nullifies the general price increases, and puts public servants in a better position in real terms. This reflects a people-centred or caring Government that is conscious of public servants’ prevailing challenges.
Additionally, the salary increases offered to public servants will serve as a significant incremental step towards bridging the private/ public sector wage disparity that may emerge from the new oil and gas sector.
I wish to point out that increasing public servants’ real incomes cannot be done in one shot. Over time, however, these incremental increases will pay dividends by continuously enhancing real wages in the public sector. The effective increase between 2021 and 2023 was 23.07 percent.