AFC suggests spiraling fuel cost is poor excuse for not increasing salaries

Last Updated on Friday, 30 April 2021, 13:41 by Denis Chabrol

The Alliance For Change (AFC) on Friday criticised the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) for using escalating fuel prices as a possible reason for being unable to pay higher salaries, but finding monies to buy vehicles for divisional directors.

“On one hand GPL bosses and the PPP are decrying the high cost of fuel but on the other hand GPL, which falls under the purview of the Prime Minister, is purchasing new vehicles. Clearly priorities need to be realigned at GPL,” that party said in a statement.

In response to a demand by the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) for GPL workers to be paid 5 percent increase in salaries for 2020, 7 percent for 2021 and 9 percent for 2022, the power company this weeks said the impact of world prices for fuel has exceeded its budget by 50 percent for 2021.  GPL has said this means it will have to spend an additional GYD$6 billion if fuel prices remain at current levels.

The purchase of vehicles is capital one-time expenditure, while salaries are recurrent.

The AFC also weighed on GPL’s decision to buy expensive vehicles through a procurement system that seemed to smack to be in violation of acceptable norms. “There are also questions of impropriety as one of the Directors is a manager at the company that bid to provide the vehicles. This is a clear case of conflict of interest and shows the total disregard the Board has for corporate good governance,” the party said in a statement.

Concerning the purchase of two Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV), GPL has said there was a competitive bidding process which had involved five bidders with the lowest bidder being approved.

NAACIE’s members at GPL are estimated at 750 persons. The highest salary among them is GYD$150,000 and the lowest is about GGYD$75,000.