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Opposition coalition promises 13 percent salary increase

APNU+AFC Presidential Candidate, David Granger and prime ministerial running mate, Moses Nagamootoo.

Guyana’s opposition coalition plans to pay government employees a 13 percent increase in salaries if it wins the upcoming general elections, according to its prime ministerial candidate Moses Nagamootoo.

“We are voting for ten and thirteen percent across-the-board wage increase for public servants, for teachers, for nurses  and for policemen and women and other people in the public service,” he told Caribbean Spotlight TV (NYC) during a just-concluded fund-raising tour to the United States.

He said the incumbent administration was known to only provide annual five percent increases in wages and salaries. Finance Minister Dr.Ashni Singh has previously said that he would be happy to pay government employees higher salaries, but not at the expense of ruining the economy through inflation.

Nagamootoo argued that government has money to pay contracted employees on a selective basis. “It is ruining the public service and the system of meritocracy.” On the issue of where the new government would find the money to pay hefty increases in wages and salaries, he said government would cut graft and wastage. “Certainly we would want to see as a start resources being garnered from areas that they are wasting money right now to direct to teachers,” he said.

The former government minister acknowledged that increased wages and salaries were important but there must also be a larger package. “You have to motivate them so money is important but you also have to give them incentives. There are teachers, who want to teach in the interior, but there are no incentives,” he said.

Rather than cronies and friends of the incumbent Donald Ramotar-led administration receiving benefits, he said the incentive package needs to be widened to include duty-free concessions, housing grants and loans. “Wages for nurses and teachers are critical,” he said, rather than women being relegated to low-paying jobs such as being watchwomen.

The Presidential Candidate for A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change  (APNU+AFC) restated that the University of Guyana (UG) would undergo dramatic improvements to produce Guyanese who could become involved in value-added production and address social ills such as domestic violence and child abuse.