Please see full statement by President Ali:
My Fellow Guyanese:
You would recall that Budget 2022, which was presented in Parliament by the Finance Minister on behalf of my Government on 26 January 2022, included financial provisions to meet the cost of a public service salary increase for 2022. This fact has been frequently reiterated by several members of my Government over the course of the year since the enactment of Budget 2022.
You would also recall that, as recently as two weeks ago, Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo confirmed during a press conference he held that there will be a salary increase paid in 2022.
This commitment by my Government comes against the backdrop of the several other measures we have implemented since assuming office, all with the aim of improving disposable incomes to public sector employees and Guyanese at large. These measures include:
1. The payment of a 7 percent across-the-board increase in 2021;
2. The restoration of the one-month tax-free year-end bonuses to the disciplined services totalling more than $1 billion per annum;
3. An increase of about 40 percent in the monthly old-age pension from $20,500 to $28,000, providing a total pension payout of more than $21 billion to our senior citizens;
4. An increase of 55 percent in public assistance payments from $9,000 to $14,000 monthly, providing a total of more than $3 billion in annual income support to the beneficiaries of this programme;
5. Restoration of the cash grants to the parents of school-aged children, increasing the amount provided for each child to $30,000 and extending the programme to children attending private schools. In total, this provides $6 billion of direct cash transfers to the parents of 200,000 school children; and
6. An increase in the minimum wage for private sector employees by 36 percent to $60,147, in keeping with the recommendations of the tripartite committee.
Needless to say, these and other similar measures augmented the many other steps taken by our Government to remove the punitive taxes that had been imposed by APNU/AFC on electricity, water, medical and educational supplies, basic household necessities, and basic construction materials.
Additionally, my Government remains mindful of the extraordinary shocks experienced this year in relation to the cost of living, especially arising from imported factors. It would be recalled that we implemented a number of measures to mitigate the effects of these imported shocks. These include removal of the excise tax on fuel, capping the freight charges, used in calculating import taxes, providing fertiliser and other support to farmers to boost food production, and direct cash transfers to especially vulnerable communities.
Consistent with all these earlier measures, I have instructed that options be identified for adjustment to the salaries paid to a number of specific categories of public sector employees. These include, in the first phase, ranks of the Police Force, Prison Service, and Fire Service. Additionally, a similar exercise is currently being conducted and recommendations being made in relation to specific categories of employees in our public healthcare system, including nurses, interns, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. In relation to these categories of employees, I am planning to make a more detailed announcement during the course of next week.
Meanwhile, Fellow Guyanese:
My Government continues to value highly the hard work that Government employees do every day in delivering services to the People of Guyana.
In this regard, I now wish to announce that my Government will be paying an across-the-board increase of eight (8) percent to public servants, teachers, members of the disciplined services, constitutional office holders, as well as Government pensioners. This increase will be granted retroactively to 1 January 2022.
Work will start immediately to ensure that this increase is processed and paid to eligible employees together with their December salary.
As I just indicated, further announcements will be made next week in relation to the specific categories of employees to which I referred earlier in the first phase of adjustment.
My Government remains resolutely committed to ensuring that the lives of all Guyanese are improved steadily, and in a tangible and demonstrable manner, as we work towards realising national prosperity for the benefit of All Guyanese.
Thank you very much, and may God bless you all.