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Speaker Shwe Mann again pushes for pay increase

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – After the Burmese finance minister opposed his motion to increase salaries for all government employees, Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann has again asked Parliament to raise government workers’ pay.

Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann Photo: MIzzimaIn a message to Parliament on Tuesday, Shwe Mann said the minimum salary of government employees should be 100,000 kyat (US$ 122), Lower House MP Khaing Khin Maung Yee told Mizzima.

He said Shwe Mann’s message to lawmakers noted that the daily wage of workers around Naypyitaw was about 2,000 kyat (US$ 2.44) per day and skilled workers and workers with more than five years experience earned up to 5,000 kyat (US$ 6.10) per day.

Shwe Mann’s statement said, “The government will be good only if the government staff is good. The salaries and wages they get should be at an appropriate and reasonable level,” Khaing Khin Maung Yee said. Shwe Mann's motion is linked to an effort to end government corruption and abuse of authority, which some observers say is at least partially the result of low pay. Shwe Mann said in a speak to Parliament that almost all government employees take "tea money" or charge for routine services as a way to supplement their salaries.  

Previously, Shwe Mann had introduced a motion to Parliament on February 7, saying salaries should be set at the level they were in 1959-60.  But Finance and Revenue Minister Hla Tun spoke against the proposal, telling Parliament that the current budget deficit of 2,517 billion kyat (US$ 3.1 billion) would be increased to more than 6,600 billion kyat (US$ 8.1 billion) if the salaries of all government staff were increased to the 1959-60 level.

Hla Tun also argued that the pay increase would create inflation, commodity prices would rise and economic instability would result if the state borrowed funds to pay for the salary increase.

He said a pay increase should be considered in the 2013-14 fiscal year. He suggested increases in wages for 37,817 government workers serving in 85 remote townships where they face hardship service.

MP Kyi Myint told Mizzima that if the motion is not withdrawn it must be decided by a joint session of Parliament.

In other Parliament business, on February 16 Agriculture and Irrigation Minister Myint Hlaing told lawmakers that the government would continue only the Shwehlanbo River water- pumping project in Singai Township, Mandalay Region. A total of 41 similar water-pumping projects had been included in the 2012-13 budget. He said a total of 270 small-scale water- pumping projects across the country (for under 2,000 acres) would be handed over to the local governments concerned.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 February 2012 21:35 )  

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