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May 14, 2020

If Unions Don’t Agree, PM Will Amend Public Service Regulations

According to the Prime Minister, foregoing increments are required and if the unions continue to reject the proposal, the next step would be to proceed to amend the Public Service Regulations to allow the minister to alter salaries, emoluments, and allowances.  This is viewed as a threat by the P.S.U., which says that while the Prime Minister is determined, he does not have the legal authority to make the decision individually.  PM Barrow says that the best way to offset a three hundred and seventy-three million-dollar deficit, without cutting salaries or staff, is for public servants to forego increments.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Listen, this is a small price for you to pay that is the foregoing of the increments and we are determine that that price should be paid in the context of the larger picture. We wish for you to agree. If you don’t agree we will do it in any event. We are going to do it. And to try to put ourselves on the best possible footing for doing it we contemplate the amendment of the Public Services Regulations to give the minister the legal power to alter the terms and conditions. Remember you know that ultimately when we finished the three phase increases of salary, we added seventy five million dollars annually to government’s wage bill with respect t public officers and that is a part of the two percent increment every year. So in effect this increment is an additional salary increase. In the context of what everybody is going through however they describe and I am saying that I accept their description it is still not nearly enough. Look at the budge book. Look at the allocations. The budget allocations for 2020/2021 is as follows: recurrent revenues are projected or were project, we have to three or four months from now go and do a whole new budget but for now, one billion, two hundred and six million dollars, emoluments and pensions, salaries, those are six hundred and eighty-eight million. Goods and services, two hundred and ninety nine million. Debt service, interest and principal, two hundred and thirty million. So the totally spending of which the because line is the six hundred and eighty-eight million for salaries , the total spending before any capital expenditure is one billion two hundred and seventy million dollars. The optimistic projections are for government to lose thirty percent of its recurrent revenue. So instead of the one billion, two hundred and six million, we would collect no more eight hundred and forty four million. That immediately gives you deficit of three hundred and seventy three million.”

 

As we said, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to, so the unions continue to consult.


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