By Bida Elly David
The newly appointed national minister of finance and economic planning has technically disagreed with the national parliament over 600% salary increment for civil servants.
In a statement seen by No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday, Minister Bak Barnaba Chol said in his submission that the proposed structure of SSP 669 billion won’t work due to scarcity of resources.
“The proposed increment of salaries and wages from 400% to 600% by the TNLA as a remedy for the current economic conditions is a popular demand of our people, but to realize this ambition, we must have sufficient revenues,” he said.
Minister Bak also appealed for a reversion to the initial 400% salary increment.
The minister commended the lawmakers for having proposed the salary increment as a popular demand but argued that it wouldn’t materialize.
“I want to reiterate that the proposed increment of 400% is what is attainable and sustainable for our nation and the people,” Bak emphasized.
He underscored that the ministry of finance has not objected to the parliamentary increment, noting that it should be a gradual rise, not a fast one.
The finance minister stressed that the recent proposed increment would result in serious inflation since there would be sufficient currency in circulation in the market.
“The increment should be gradual, not abrupt, as this can lead to inflation. So, this proposal by the TNLA should be done in a subsequent fiscal year,’’ Bak lamented.
Dr. Bak, who was baptized by fire, did not take into consideration the pressure he awaits from the lawmakers over the budget.
He noted that the proposed allocation of 400% of the salaries by the ministry of finance was based on the available revenues that the government would generate.
“The goal is not sustainable in the long run, and we do not want to give false hope to our people. The 400% wage and salary increase proposed by the ministry of finance should be maintained,” he lamented.
The minister called on the lawmakers to comply with his appeal before the budget reaches its final reading stage in parliament.
However, John Agany, the spokesperson of the transitional national assembly, told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that Minister Bak is not free to decide on the budget, noting that he should wait for the sitting.
Agany said the parliament only gave Minister Bak time to familiarize himself with the financial document (budget draft) upon request.
He added that Minister Bak’s appointment happened at a critical moment when the budget has been placed for debate.