Super salaries for ex-GDF officers more burden on Govt expenditure

…financial analyst dubs this development “ludicrous”

By Samuel Sukhnandan

The hiring of more ex-Guyana Defense Force (GDF) officers as consultants is causing severe encumbrance on central Government’s annual expenditure and the annual public service wage bill, says oversea-based Guyanese Financial Analyst, Sasenarine Singh.
In citing the most recent financial bulletin, Singh pointed out that Central Government expenditure year-to-date totaled $29 billion, compared to $18.6 billion spent during the same period in 2016.
While recognising that this massive increase is driven by many factors, Singh stressed that the most outstanding reason is the expansion in employment cost by 16.2 percent.
“This is clearly because of but more importantly the expansion in the public service driven by these high cost advisors of mainly ex-GDF officers,” the financial expert opined.
According to Singh, the expansion of employment cost a huge problem, since each of the ex-GDF officers who are now employed with Government is costing the state $10-12 million for each person annually.
Reports are that there are about 20-25 such persons currently employed by the current administration, which when put together, could cost somewhere between $200 and $300 million each year.
“This is an unfair burden to ask the people to carry. You do not have $300 million to pay 1700 GuySuCo workers at wales their severance pay, but you have that to pay 25 ex-GDF officer fat cat salaries. People who are already getting a full pension and on top of that they are getting huge wages,” he stressed.
Singh, who once served on the executive of the Alliance for Change (FAC), told Guyana Times that while many of these ex-army officials might be good at military services, he strongly believes that a majority of them are being placed into positions that does not reconcile with their skillset.
“So, you are putting in some cases square pegs in round holes and this can have a demotivating effect on the public service. People will realize that they can’t climb the ladder within the public service because of specialism. Because they don’t have the green card (ex-GDF officer),” he added.
Importantly also, is the fact that young professionals are being put out of the system because there is less room for them to expand. “Because all of these ex-GDF officers are being parachuted, whether fit or unfit into all these keys roles,” Singh emphasised.
He argued, “You can’t tell me that the GDF is the most competent organisation in Guyana. If you read the Auditor General (AG) Reports you would see they failed on many scores, at practicing proper public procurement and they are not necessarily the best spenders of money.”
Singh said many of the AG reports, have pointed to cases where the GDF has failed to follow the procurement policies and public procurement laws in Guyana.
“So, what are their criteria for being superior human being, than the rest of the society? There is none. It is just naked favoritism being exercised by the Granger administration and nepotism,” he added.
According to the Finance Ministry’s March 2017 monthly report, expansion in employment cost resulted from new recruitment as well as the annualization of 2016’s salary increases, while growth in other goods and services was attributed to the early passage of Budget 2017.
On the other hand, expansion in transfer payments was accredited to a rise in subsidies and contributions to international organisations, catering for early subscription payments to organisations as well as increased pension payments.