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Burmese government staff unhappy despite pay hike

Mizzima News – Essential and other commodity prices in Burma are rising after the military junta announced an increase in pay of government employees and daily wage earners.

A Ministry of Finance and Revenue staff member said that the monthly salary of all government staff will be increased by a flat Kyat 20,000 (estimated USD 20) each, according to the Ministry’s Notification No. 184/2009 dated 31 December 2009.

The notification says, ‘the salary of government employees is increased for the betterment of the livelihood of the staffs’.

A week after the pay hike announcement, 24 carat pure gold price rose by Kyat 10,000. Yesterday’s price was Kyat 615,000 per tical (approx. 16 gm).

A grocery store owner in Bogale told Mizzima, “Commodity prices rose especially after Independence Day on 4 January. Peanut edible oil price rose to Kyat 3,500 from Kyat 3,200 per viss (approx. 3.6 lbs or 1.64 Kg). Onion price rose to Kyat 750 from Kyat 650 per viss. Other provisions also increased by Kyat 100 to 200”.

Some government staff members are unhappy despite a pay rise as they are worried about rising prices of commodities.

An Insein hospital staff said, “I get just over Kyat 30,000 per month as salary. I cannot cope with the expenses for my family that too without kids at the current prices. I have to find extra sources of income to make both ends meet. I would be content with the current salary if commodity prices came down”.

Daily wage for those working at ministries and government organizations were also increased to Kyat 1,000 per day from Kyat 500 for an 8-hour workday. The new pay structure is only for basic pay and daily wages. The increments of respective pay scales are unchanged.

For military personnel, the procedure and regulation for prescribed pay scale, fringe benefits, pension and gratuity have to be presented to the Defence Council under the Ministry of Defence for final approval.

Government staff members working in foreign missions and on foreign soil have to draw their salary in foreign exchange on old pay scales. They will get the new pay scale only when they are back in Burma.

Ko Moe Zaw, a rice seller in Bogale township in Irrawaddy delta that was hard hit by cyclone Nargis in 2008, said “The price of rice rose this week. The earlier price was Kyat 16,500 per bag (approx. 50 Kgs) of Paw San Hmwe rice and the inferior quality rice was about Kyat 14,000 to 14,500 per bag. The current price of Paw San (good quality rice) is Kyat 18,000 per bag and the  inferior quality rice is Kyat 15,000 to 16,500 per bag”.

The salary of government staff members were increased five times since the current military regime assumed power in 1988. Pay increases were made in 1989, 1993, 2000, 2006 and 2010. This is the fifth increase under this military regime.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 January 2010 22:30 )  

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