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“Huge salary increase for some Permanent Secretaries”. Letter to Editor. 20 Oct. 2013

01/11/2013

(Not published)

 

Increased PS Salaries

Dear Sir/Madam (Fiji Sun, Fiji Times)

 

The media reported recently (Fiji Times, September 24, 2013) that some Permanent Secretaries in the Fiji Civil Service and the heads of the three disciplined forces, have been granted massive salary increases, allegedly on the basis of a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers.

One can easily guess why Price Waterhouse Coopers would write a report that totally distorts civil service salary relativities at the top.

But it is totally anomalous that the salary increases were justified by one of the beneficiaries himself, PS Public Service (Mr Parmesh Chand) with phrases  claiming that “stringent new conditions, strict new performance standards, more accountability and transparency” would be required of these Permanent Secretaries.

Perhaps Mr Parmesh Chand can explain if these conditions and criteria were not applied to senior civil servants in the past six years, or indeed, the last forty three years.

The Ministry of Information also claimed that in the past Government had failed to attract and retain the best talents. Does this imply that the current crop of Permanent Secretaries are not really the “best talents” at all?

Given that tax-payers’ funds are involved, can the Public Service Commission explain,

(a)   Why the salary adjustment is being undertaken on a piecemeal basis and only at the top level, when a more rational approach would have been to consider the total civil service salary structure and especially those levels and departments where it has been difficult to retain qualified professionals.

(b)  why the salaries of Permanent Secretaries already in post are being increased, instead of paying these exorbitant salaries to the allegedly “talented” new appointees.

(c)   Whether the public can now expect an announcement of even higher ministerial salaries.

Professor Wadan Narsey

Suva

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