It’s anything but awing and astonishing – the pay commission’s proposal on pay raise for civil servants and parliamentarians that was approved by the National Assembly last week.
Civil servants get a 20 percent raise with another 20 percent as housing allowances, the Prime minister and cabinet ministers get a whopping raise of 131 and 67 percents respectively, 21 percent hike for parliamentarians, and increment in vehicle allowance from Nu 700,000 to Nu 1M. These are a few gist of the pay commission’s report.
Many are, however, questioning whether the pay revision, as pledged by the ruling government before the election last year, is timely considering the present predicament of the country’s economy. Or especially at a time when the country is experiencing mounting debt? How the revision would help the economy?
Whether the salary raise is timely or not, and while the revision would indubitably come as good news for many, there are also a host of other concerns too. How appropriate and reasonable is the hike when the government itself is on an austerity measure at the ministerial level? What about people in the private sector?
And while the revision is intended to benefit civil servants, especially in the lower income group, the proposal doesn’t do much to help them. While it only actually translates to five to six percent, considering inflation and other factors, for the lowest income level civil servants, the difference in revision, however, is more than 100 percent between parliamentarians and ministers.
Additionally, the pay hike proposal for now only seems to benefit people at the higher echelons, parliamentarians and ministers, while civil servants in the lower rung and private sector employees wait with bated breath to experience the looming ripple effects the raise is likely to bring along. House owners must be already mulling over increasing the rent. The prices of commodity, which is already experiencing inflation, will only go up. Income disparity and the gap between the haves and have-nots are also likely to grow. What the government would do to address these tangible effects of the pay raise?
Further, the revision has accorded the highest raise to those already getting hefty pay, while making it appear that those at the lowest rung also got equally. Simply put, it’s not the most-needy civil servants that are benefitting from the raise here.