The race to pay the highest remuneration package for state employees and commercial sector employees of the state owned firms has hit new records today. The President has introduced a new remuneration package to the atoll chiefs (his appointees in the atolls) to over 420,000 Maldivian Rufiyaa a year. In turn, the honorable Members of Parliament have passed a motion to pay themselves a remuneration package of over half a million Rufiyaa a year plus travel and medical benefits anywhere in the region for themselves and members of their families. The parliament has also proposed amendments to the salary of the Auditor General to be 1.2million Rufiyaa a year.
All this is in the backdrop of the recent race to have government agencies outside the civil service to accord the highest remuneration packages to their staff. The civil service is following suit and the Civil Service Commission has announced that it will be going into negotiations with the Minister of Finance for a pay rise.
The majority of MPs are big businessmen themselves and therefore cannot affort to live on the meagre remuneration they currently get. The top civil service officers themselves have their own second jobs as advisors or consultants or for freelance, which they execute mostly using state resources and neglecting their duties. In the absence of statistics that show the national averages for remuneration in various sectors, the civil service, the government and other state agencies are ripping off the public. The beauty for them is that they don’t have to earn a cent of what they demand and pay upon themselves.
All this in the backdrop of an upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections may teach a lesson to our politicians and bureaucrats! But then it will be too late.