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Government employees to lose incentives in Naypyitaw

Naypyitaw (Mizzima) – Authorities will begin collecting five different bills including house rent, electricity and water bills, from government employees they were earlier exempted from in Naypyitaw.

In July, the authorities collected Kyat 2,000 from each flat or houses as electricity bill up to July 2009. They, were however, told that they would be charged at the rate of Kyat 25 per unit next time.

Government employees have to pay rent at a flat rate of 10 per cent of their monthly salary regardless of the type of houses occupied, either with the family in flats or if they are staying together in dormitories, a staff from the Ministry of Forest told Mizzima.

“The monthly electricity bill may touch five digits as power is available here 24x7. Then we have to pay rent and Kyat 6,000 per month for cable TV. After deducting all these expenses from our monthly salary of just over Kyat 20,000, I wonder how much will be left for us to eat,” a low ranking staff from the Ministry of Economics and Commerce told Mizzima.

In Burma, where there has been military rule since 1962, the monthly salaries of low ranking government employees range from 15,000 kyat (USD 12 approximately) to 30,000 kyat.

In late 2005 and in early 2006, employees in various government ministries were ordered to move to Naypyitaw, as the military junta announced shifting of its capital to the jungle city. There was a lot of resentment among employees, habituated to living in urban areas. Some even toyed with the idea of resigning.   

To persuade the employees to accept the transfer to the new jungle capital, authorities thought up incentives including one-step promotion, free housing in modern flats, round the clock free electricity and free cable for state-run TV.

However, there was a nasty shock in store for employees after they began settling down in their new homes. The regime began withdrawing the concessions one by one.

To make matters worse, government employees are forced to plant saplings and plants in their housing complexes and are given points on it. Those who fail to get 25 points are asked to explain.

“The authorities come and check our kitchen garden every week. A sapling of gourd fetches one point. It receives five points when it begins to bear gourds. So we dare not pluck our own gourd from our plants for fear of losing points. Five mango trees get one point,” a staff from the Ministry of Industry (1) living at the Bugwe Housing told Mizzima.

“And if we fail to collect 25 points, we have to explain to the minister. The minister is known to threaten employees with transfer to factories,” the staff complained.

Under pressure government employees have to attend office on holidays in rotation. Worse their families have to tag along when they need to do tiring work like planting trees, cleaning offices among other chores.

The ministries including Central government offices moved to Naypyitaw near Pyinmana in central Burma, as of November 2005 from the former capital Rangoon.

Last Updated ( Monday, 17 August 2009 18:25 )  

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