The APNU+AFC Opposition has scoffed at the Government’s announcement of a 6.5% salary increase for all public servants, retroactive to January 2023.
Describing the 6.5% increase as “ridiculous”, the Opposition said the pitiful amount is so small that it represents less than 1% of the current $782 billion government budget.
“To add insult to injury, the members of our Disciplined Services will only receive a token one-off bonus, despite the escalating threat to our territorial integrity and sovereignty. This is the extent to which the PPP values the protection of our homeland and the welfare of Guyanese”, the statement said.
In announcing the increase on Friday, Minister responsible for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh said the across the board increase will benefit more than 54,000 public servants. The Government had also announced a one-off $25,000 cash grant for public servants and old age pensioners.
But on the salary increase, the Opposition noted that it will no nothing to cushion the effects of the high inflation rate that has been sweeping across the country.
“Shamefully, this increase is below this year’s rate of inflation and inadequate to help citizens handle the already high and escalating cost of living. Subjectively and objectively, public servants are worse off now than they were under the APNU+AFC Coalition government. Citizens are less capable of making ends meet. They can buy less food and fewer goods. They can save less. They are less confident and more hopeless. They have less money to spend on Christmas.”
The Opposition noted that Guyana’s national budget and economy currently stand at nearly triple the 2019 level and the country is earning more from the oil industry.
“We remind Guyanese that without oil revenues, and in only a few years, the Coalition government gave public servants a 77% pay increase! As the next government, we promise all Guyanese workers and households a living wage as part of guaranteeing all households a livable income. Guyana cannot lift the quality of life of citizens if its public servants have to flee its shores for respect and betterment. We cannot educate our children, keep our streets safe, deliver quality healthcare to our citizens, and service economic activity without a motivated and well-compensated public service”, the APNU+AFC statement said.