On the subject of an 8% pay hike for public servants, which has been heavily ventilated in the press, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has announced that the Government cannot do more for public servants at this time since the country continues to face a huge fiscal deficit in spite of the dozens of oil discoveries made in Guyana.
Since President Irfaan Ali’s announcement of a retroactive 8% across-the-board salary increase for public servants last month, several people, including trade unionists, have called out the need for higher increases now that the country is witnessing a massive inflow of oil revenues.
However, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, in setting the record straight, recently told reporters that, contrary to popular belief, the country has not received astronomical sums of money from oil and gas companies.
“The Minister of Finance pointed out that there are modest sums that we’ve received. Modest sums that will grow to fairly large sums in the future years. We still run a huge fiscal deficit, given the development needs and the other needs of the country for intervention,” he stated.
Jagdeo posited that the Government has done a great deal in giving back to the Guyanese populace holistically. He pointed out that the reversal of the tax measures implemented by the APNU+AFC administration resulted in public servants paying $40 billion less in taxes.
He said that cash grants to children across the country and the increase in pensions amounted to billions of dollars.
“We now have hired across the country 11,000 people who have part time jobs who were not working before, that’s another $6 billion. We have given out in cash grants to the people about $12 billion, the first round and then in the second round in the hinterland and riverine areas. You have to look at all of these measures in a combined way to see benefits flowing back to people in this country, it is not just public service salaries,” Jagdeo explained.
Trade unions have maintained that every Guyanese who is employed should take home no less than $130,000 considering the rising cost of living.