PM Douglas says Labour Government will review salaries and wages of civil servants, IMF approves 5th and 6th SBA reviews

Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 26th 2013 (CUOPM) – Federal civil servants, auxiliary workers and pensioners in St. Kitts and Nevis could be carrying home heavier pay packets in the next few months.

Responding to questions at his monthly press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas told reporters that the Federal Government is definitely looking at a review of salaries.

Dr. Douglas disclosed that he had indicated such a review to the team from the IMF that visited St. Kitts and Nevis a few weeks ago and used the opportunity to announce that on his way to the Press Conference, he had received a brief message from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) informing him that St. Kitts and Nevis had successfully passed the 5th and 6th SBA Reviews.

“Let me say that the cycle that we have been following in terms of the review of salaries, wages and retirement benefit for public servants serving and those who have served in the past. The cycle for review is this term and so the government is definitely looking forward towards that review,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who is also the Minister of Finance.

Dr. Douglas said the cost of the increases will have to be determined by the Ministry of Finance when that particular exercise is imminent and the funding will either come from revenue or grant.

“We have asked that this is a matter that should be given attention and we would want that attention to be given rather urgently. It is not the most urgent thing, but it must be done urgently,” he said.

Prime Minister Douglas said that in tackling and restructuring the National Debt the salaries and increments of civil servants were frozen.

“We asked our public servants to hold. We ourselves as Ministers of Government, we have not have a salary increase for 9 years. We have told ourselves that we have to hold. We asked our retirees (pensioners) to hold, because we believe that during this cycle, we can review salaries for civil servants and pensioners since things have improved,” said the Prime Minister.

“We are not yet there, but we are getting there. And I believe therefore that there should be serious consideration for a review of the salaries, wages and retirement benefits,” adding: “I have said this to the last team from the IMF that was here a few weeks ago.”

“While I was on my way down to this Press Conference, I received an email from the Head of the IMF team that looked at the quarterly review of the economy and was informed that the IMF Executive Board today met and approved the completion of the 5th and 6th SBA Reviews,” said Dr. Douglas.

“In other words the IMF has given us a passing grade, but of course it has to go to the Executive Board and the Executive Board, now nearly two months after, has eventually met and has agreed that the economy continues to show the signs of improvement which were anticipated when the planned new economic program was being designed,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.

“I said to them (IMF Team) when they were here, that I believe as things turn around, we really have to thank our public servants, because they, to a large extent displayed understanding and patience and if things are improving then they should be the first to benefit from the improvement,” said Dr. Douglas.

“I really firmly believe that the salaries should be reviewed and I hope that there is no impediment to this. I know we have to do it slowly and carefully, but I really think the public servants should have a review in their wages and salaries,” the Prime Minister said.

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