Likely Leader of the Opposition, Bharat Jagdeo, says that Guyanese will see their salaries increased by half the amount stated in the 2015 Estimates because the increase is retroactive to July 1st.
“What bothers me significantly is the date that it is effective from…I have to divide all of those by two as it is effective for six months of the year,” Jagdeo told reporters during a press conference at Freedom House on Tuesday afternoon.
While presenting highlights from the 2015 Estimates, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan revealed government proposes to raise the salaries of persons previously earning $39,540 to $50,000; representing an increase of 26.4 percent. Further, persons previously receiving $42,703 would also see their salaries increase to $50,000; persons previously earning $50,000 would see their salaries increased to $57,500; persons receiving $100,000 would be receiving an increased amount of $110,000; persons who now receive $200,000 would receive $215,000; and persons receiving $500,000 will receive an increased amount of $530,000.
The increased amounts account to percentage increases of 26.4 percent, 17.1 percent, 15 percent, 10 percent, 7.5 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Jagdeo is saying that persons in each category, in 2015, will receive only half of what is stated because these increases will be paid only from July 1st as opposed to January 1st. If Jagdeo is correct, increases for 2015, will be 13.2 percent, 8.55 percent, 7.5 percent, 5 percent, 3.55 percent, and 3 percent for the individual categories.
“These are even lower than what the People Progressive Party gave in (its) budget,” Jagdeo said, arguing that “Jordan has played a clever slight of hand…a three-card trick on people.” He said that the 5 percent and 8 ercent increases which were allocated under the former administration made more sense and was retroactive to the beginning of the year.
Jagdeo also took a swipe at the lack of allocations in the 2015 Estimates toward sustaining the former administration’s so-called “Because We Care” initiative under which $10,000 was handed out to persons who qualified.
He noted that the school uniform assistance moved from $1,500 to $2,000, and will benefit 167,000 students and will cost the treasury $337 million.
“If we take the $10,000 given as a transport grant and multiply it by 167000 there will be $1.76 billion. They have given $337 million by increasing the uniform allowance and have taken back $1.3 billion from the students,” Jagdeo charged.