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Increasing ministers salaries was “difficult” but necessary decision- Granger

President David Granger.

In government’s latest explanation, President David Granger has sought to justify the hefty hike in ministerial salaries mere four months after taking office on grounds that he needed to pay more to retain quality professsionals to manage Guyana properly.

The Ministry of the Presidency quoted Granger as saying that that in order to attract the best qualified people to serve at this level, certain sacrifices have to be made.

“Many of the members were professionals and some came from private enterprises. We are trying to ensure that the coalition’s Cabinet is such that there is a high level of efficiency. The changes have been an investment in quality governance,” President Granger told the journalists on the panel.

Acknowledging that increasing the salaries was a difficult decision to make, the Guyanese leader assured that in the end the 50 percent increase in salaries for ministries would in the end pay off in ensuring the country is managed properly. ““As far as the salary increases are concerned, we had to make some choices, and choices were made in order to assure the public of the efficiency and commitment of the Ministers … It was a difficult choice in the first place. It was not something that we did recklessly. We had to consider all of the options and in the final analysis we felt that this was the best means of ensuring that the work of the Cabinet would continue,” he said.

The Ministry of the Presidency said while there are criticisms, President Granger said that he is confident that in time to come, Guyanese will see the merits of regularising and upgrading the income of the country’s senior officials.

“I am aware of the criticisms but we have to make choices every day and the choice was made in favor of having a stronger Cabinet and allowing those persons who have been selected to fulfill their functions and I am confident that this will be done. In the middle term, I believe people will see that as a good decision… I believe that in time to come, evidence would emerge that we made the correct decision,” he said.

Granger’s perspectives form part of the latest explanation given by government in response to criticisms about the increase in ministerial salaries. The others are to discourage corrupt practices and the need for parity between salaries at the ministerial and judiciary levels.

Almost immediately after news broke that the increases were published quietly in the Official Gazette, there was a public outcry by trade unions, civil society organisations and ordinary Guyanese.