By ISAAC NICHOLAS
THE Public Employees Association has thanked Treasury and Finance Minister Peter O’Neill of putting money where his mouth is in increasing salaries for public servants next year.
PEA president Michael Malabag in his budget response said the increase allocation in personnel emoluments of the public service was in recognition and commitment by O’Neill to adjust and increase public servants wages and salaries next year.
He also commended the government in setting aside K30 million in anticipation of the agreement to be concluded between PEA and Department of Personnel Management (DPM).
“The government has recognised and made allowance for the increased allocation in its 2011 budget towards ‘personnel emoluments’, which comprises of salaries and wages by K541.3 million an increase of 27.7% compared with 2010 allocation.”
Malabag said the increase allocation is in recognition and commitment by O’Neill who is also Minister for Public Service that this promise came true and is reflected in the budget.
“The PEA in its submission to the DPM has claimed for 18% or 6% increment a year over the next three years 2011, 2012 and 2013 during the term of the new agreement to be concluded very shortly with DPM.
“We envisage that the increase allocation in the personnel emoluments in 2011 will effectively accommodate PEA’s claims.
“Accordingly, the government has set aside K30 million in anticipation of the agreement to be concluded in the new few weeks between PEA and DPM.”
He reiterated PEA’s call through its submission before government as a short-term measure to improve and pay public servants a housing subsidy or an allowance of K250 a fortnight for PEA members.
“Housing is a problem because it is not a condition of employment and we (PEA) will be pushing for K250 a fortnight for PEA members.”
Malabag said the government had to develop public service housing as a long-term plan.
“There is no standard housing policy. The National Housing Corporation is doing its own thing while Public Service is doing its own thing.”
He said the government’s “employee first home buyer scheme” needed proper scrutiny and assessment and a carefully thought out policy framework be developed to address this issue on the first home buyer arrangement.
Malabag called on all public servants to concentrate on their job and give quality service to a government that had shown its concerns which was reflected in the budget.