Increased wages reliant on availability, sustainability of funds- Finance Minister

GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Increased wages and salaries must be sustainable, and only if the funds are available to pay increases, Finance Minister Winston Jordan has stated.

Addressing the issue during his year -end press conference on Monday, the Minister said, “That’s why I can pay you a $25,ooo bonus for this year because its one-off, and I don’t have to sustain it. Last year, I could have paid you a $50,000 bonus, and I didn’t have to sustain it.”

With regards wages, Minister Jordan said, “it has to be a process where you have crunched the numbers and come up with the possibilities. At this lower end, this is the max I can do, and at this higher end, this is the max I can do,”

The Finance Minister was asked about the Government’s wages bill and calls from some quarters for more to be paid. Minister Jordan explained that Government’s strategic approach is to negotiate. “If you were to do an analysis of some of the numbers being thrown out, you would realise very early that these numbers don’t lend themselves to the context of the economy that we are carrying.”

The Finance Minister cited the example of the Head of the Alesie Group of Company. Turhane Doerga, who urged that common sense be shown during negotiations for higher wages, and was chastised by the unions for such an expression. Minister Jordan recalled, “He said I must be a magician to be paying those kinds of increases, relative to the downturn in the economy, and he said the private sector never would have done so.”

Jordan pointed out that while the Private Sector is more private interest driven, Government is mainly about social interest.  The Government has to be able to come up with configurations that would allow it to still stay within the ballpark figure that can be generated and sustained, overtime, the Minister said.

Minister Jordan emphasised, “Every time you add something to the wage bill, it has to be sustained. You can’t go back and cut it next year, and say ahhh, things didn’t work out. If there are revenue shortfalls, there are no such things as cut wages. You have to continue paying what you have agreed to pay. One also has to look down the road to see what is possible, before you can even end up agreeing to a number today.”

Revenues can only grow so much; hence there must be continued growth of the economy to increase revenue streams, the Minister pointed out.

 

By: Paul McAdam

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