Sad state of affairs that Opposition MPs are not able to read, comprehend documents
Please permit me space in your newspaper to respond to a missive floating around on social media written by APNU/AFC first-time Member of Parliament Juretha Fernandes where she sought to discredit Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo’s assertions that public servants would receive a salary increase.
In the VP’s Facebook post, he stated that there is over $10 billion under the head “revision of wages of salaries” which caters for salary increases. To counter, Ms Fernandes was adamant that there is no mention of this heading in any of the three budget estimate volumes.
She then concluded that “the 2021 budget did not cater for any increase, revision or otherwise, in Public Servants wages and salaries. But the PPP must now find a way to fix such a grave omission in an attempt to salvage their tarnished public image.”
Now here are the facts:
1. Ms Fernandes is partially correct – those specific words do not appear in the budget estimates. What the MP ought to have known is that the line item 6141 to which the Vice President refers was changed from “revision of wages of salaries” to “other employment costs” in 2014. As such, she should have examined this line to ascertain whether funds were budgeted before coming to a conclusion
NB the line item 6141 is only used in the Ministry of Finance’s budget. In other words, no other Ministry or agency will allocate sums under this line item. Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Budget Agencies etc have to request the amount necessary to facilitate salary increase payments by way of memorandum to the Finance Secretary.
1. Secondly, there was no omission – and absolutely no need to fix anything. In the 2021 Budget estimates, under the same 6141 line item, $10,094,889,000, as correctly stated by the VP over $10 billion, is budgeted for salary increases.
Editor, it is a sad state of affairs when Members of Parliament especially those who boast of their high intellectual prowess are not able to read and comprehend documents, in this case, the budget, which they are expected to scrutinise.
Nevertheless, I hope Ms Fernandes and the rest of her colleagues read this letter and become more equipped to function in their roles. More importantly, I hope that public servants disregard the misinformation being promulgated by the mischievous few.