Buzz: Substantial or paltry wage increases? Take your pick

Buzz: Substantial or paltry wage increases? Take your pick

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(Times photo)

Apparently increasing the minimum wage for public servants from $39K to $50K is “paltry” according to the Times which states that Jordan announced “a five per cent increase in wages and salaries for the largest category of public servants”

More duplicity from Michael Younge who needs to submit his assembled articles in the Guyana Prize for Fiction category. The bulk of government workers make under $100k and are to receive a 15% to 26% increase. And how inconvenient that their go-to Ramesh Dookhoo would tell them the budget was “ambitious but also admirable” and that it will stimulate the economy as he pointed out that the changes to wages and salaries was a definite plus.” They buried that part.  Then there is Romel Roopnaraine breaking ranks on FB: “I will heap criticisms on the APNU/AFC government when i think they deserve it but I also reserve the right to praise them when I think they have hit the mark. From initial reports I’m informed via the media that those public servants earning what was regarded as the minimum wage between 39,540/42,703 will now receive 50,000 plus an extra 5,000 per month. This is commendable on the government’s part because ultimately the average worker will now benefit a bit more.” 

Indeed the injection of cash into the hands of lower paid government workers is the best way to stimulate the economy. The only question will be if it spurs inflation. However that widely held assumption is tenuous as we noted some time ago  when looking at the last time public servants got such a large increase as part of the the Armstrong Award which decreed a 31.6% increase in salaries for 1999 and a 26.7% increase for 2000. What happened to the inflation rate in the subsequent years? 5.9% (2000), 6% in 2001 and 4.7% in 2002. Some spike. In fact the biggest spike in inflation was 12.3% in 2007…when the government introduced VAT. A much greater factor for inflation is commodity costs especially fuel as Jordan pointed out yesterday.

We wont rehash the whole budget here (it’s kind of boring) except for these three points:

We dislike the selective duty free concessions for joint services and toshaos and even those for miners and the fisheries sectors. The fisheries in particular was slipped in there very quietly along with an adjustment to the customs act exempting shrimp from export tax which smacks of a direct pay back for campaign support by some big donors.

Again the public assistance, rising from $5,900 to $6,500 monthly is pitifully low. If they had doubled that to $10,000 for the 9,360 men and women who are disabled or economically and medically disadvantaged it would have only cost about $40M.

Meanwhile we still don’t believe that growth number of 3.4% for 2014 since merchandise imports contracted by 4.4% and export earnings contracted by 15.1 %. Maybe an economist can explain.

In brief….

“Ron Forde, called ‘Andel’, one of the two suspects in the murder of sex worker Noel Wilson Luthers, called Nephi, was arrested on Sunday evening by police ranks at Linden.” (SN)

Former Minister Dr. Jennifer Westford and her assistant Margaret Cummings who were slapped with several fraud-related charges, made their second appearance and had their matter further adjourned to September 15, for statements.(KN) They have some high powered lawyers involved now.

And the challenge to the Chang term limit ruling is under way led by Solicitor-General Sita Ramlal, on behalf of the Attorney-General (AG), and attorney Roysdale Forde, who is representing former Speaker Raphael Trotman.” (SN)

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