A letter of concern dispatched to Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Godfrey Statia on Tuesday suggests that some staff at the tax agency are receiving a salary increase of 50% or more.
The letter, seen by the News Rooms, was signed by “concerned [GRA] staff” who questioned the criteria used to decide the increases. Staff were advised at a meeting on November 18 that they would receive the increases.
Last week President David Granger and Finance Minister Winston Jordan announced salary increases for all public servants, including those working at semi-autonomous agencies like GRA.
Titled “unfair allocation of salary increases,” the letter provided several observations which it deemed not to be in the best interest of lower-level staff.
“Sir, most of the lower-level staff (RS11 and below) were subjected to minimal increases without any plausible explanation and more so, the criteria used to arrive at the said percentage” the letter read.
Among the observations outlined in the letter was that some staff were given a 12 per cent increase since they were deemed to be “qualified” for same, while others received increases from 20 per cent, and in some cases, in excess of 50 per cent.
Of concern to the staff was the migration of some of their colleagues to a newly implemented salary scale which now includes “Executive, Technical and Professional Management”.
“The question here would be what does this new salary scale represent? What are the requirements of each scale and the criteria for assigning staff to these respective scales?” the letter questioned.
The claim was also made that staff within specific divisions received varying percentages even though they perform the same technical duties and are equipped with the same, and in some cases, higher qualifications.
What was also revealed in the letter was that staff who had benefitted from increments – 10 years and more of service and de-bunching – lost those benefits without an explanation being offered.
The concerned staff described these allocations as “disturbing and demotivating” to those who did not benefit from those substantial increases, but works towards achieving the daily objectives of the tax agency.
“Another mind-boggling question is, how can a recently implemented unit benefit more than a longstanding, high performance and high-risk area within GRA?” Statia was asked.
The endorsers of the letter were keen to note, however, that their intention is not to question or undermine the decisions made, but rather to address the “perceived unfairness” of the increase.
“We applaud the initiative taken by the Executive Management to allocate the salary increases to all staff members, but would appreciate if the concerns highlighted above can be addressed in a fair and transparent manner” the letter concluded.
Last week the President announced that the minimum wage of public servants will be increased from $64,220 to $70,000 per month, while those earning between $100,000 and under $1 million per month will receive an 8.5% increase. He added that those earning below $100,000 will receive a 9% increase, while several allowances were also increased.