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Jan 8, 2021

Ballooning Wage Bill Briceño’s Burden

John Briceño

But the Briceño administration is facing a financial dilemma.  As the PM said in his New Year address, the government ‘bruk.’  A ballooning wage bill burdens the fiscal budget.  In fact, the wage bill and the pension bill together are eighty percent of the country’s billion dollars budget.  Briceño says that there are no retrenchment talks, but his government is ready to consult with its partners such as the public service and teachers.

 

Prime Minister John Briceño

“We have to look at everything. As it is right now the wage bill and the pension bill combined is approximately over eighty percent of the budget. We in December announced that we will start, we have taken a ten percent into our salaries as a gesture of good will that we are prepare to do what is necessary. We are going to sit down with the union with a blank sheet of paper and we are going to see what are the steps that we can take to be able to cover this huge crater of the budget, how we will try to reduce the debts that we have. The U.D.P. alone as of late last year borrowed almost a billion dollars all from paper, from Central Bank and it is unsustainable. We have to fix it. And we can only fix it with our partners both the public service union and the teachers union. They are our partners. We have to d it together. It is not myself or them but all of us together as to how we are going to fix it.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Is the government now considering retrenchment in the public service and those who remain employed received a twenty percent pay cut?”

 

Prime Minister John Briceño

“We have not considered anything. As I said we have a blank paper and we are going to sit down with our partners and together we have to make the decisions. Whatever decisions that will be able to get us on a sustainable footing we are going to do that. But we cannot continue to spend money that we don’t have because if we continue do that then everything is going to crash.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“So the government continues to borrow a million dollars every day to meet salaries?”

 

Prime Minister John Briceño

“Right now it is a little less of a million dollars but yes we still continue to that. That is why we have set up a high powered economy recover task force. We have the best of the best in different sectors of the economy and now they are trying to see, coming up with ideas as to how they can get the economy going.”


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