PPP/C never promised 50% salary increase for public servants – Parag

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Shortly after Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh announced a seven per cent salary increase for public servants on Thursday, his colleague, Minister of Public Service Sonia Parag has denied that a 50 per cent increase was promised by the ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) in the run-up to the March 2020 elections.

The across the board salary increases were the first granted to public servants since the PPP/C came to government in August 2020.

Parag clarified that the 50% salary increase image which has gained traction is actually fake and was never a promise made by the party.

Instead, she dismissed it as an altered “photoshopped” image that was posted in the public domain during the campaign to give the impression that it was a PPP/C promise.

“At no point in time there was a 50 per cent increase in salaries promised to public sector employees,” she clarified during an interview with the News Room.

Pointing to the party’s manifesto, Parag said that promise cannot be found on any page in the document.

“We have facts and we go by facts. Our manifesto speaks to what the facts are.

“There is a 50,000 target for house lots, there is a 50, 000 target for jobs, there is nothing about a 50% increase in salaries.

“That was propaganda, that was possibly maliciously put there so as to twist the government arm to do something that it cannot do at this point in time,” the Public Service Minister told the News Room.

The minister said whatever promises were made will be fulfilled.

“We don’t hide; we are not hiding.”

Asked then what the specific promise in relation to increases for public servants, was, Parag said: “there wasn’t a specific figure put to salary increases for public servants. What was promised is an improvement in their lives and we are implementing initiatives to achieve this.”

Dr. Singh said teachers and members of the disciplined services, constitutional office holders, as well as government pensioners will also benefit from the retroactive seven per cent increase.

He also announced that frontline workers in the local health sector will benefit from a massive $400 million payout that has been set aside by the government.

The announcement was following a Cabinet meeting earlier on in the day. President Ali had repeatedly promised that public servants, including teachers, will receive a salary increase by the end of 2021.

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