Pay hike: Advantage for 2pc a pain for the rest 98

15 October 2014 Editorial Desk

The eighth Pay and Service Commission is likely to recommend a 60 percent salary hike for 12 lakh government employees and health insurance for the employees and their wards on a new pay structure, which will be implemented from the next fiscal year.
Experts have opined that if the salary of government employees is increased invariably it would increase the price level making it painful for the ordinary masses.
While new investment has narrowed, exports continue to stutter, FDI inflows has dramatically fallen down, the trade-gap is widening, and the civil service recruitment is being dominated by an illogical 56 percent quota, the recommended salary for the government employees will surely destabilize the existing volatile economy.
A vernacular daily reported that the Commission is going to recommend a basic salary range from Tk 10,000 to Tk 70,000 what is now in the Tk 4,100 to Tk 40,000 range. Considering the living cost of a six-member family, education and health costs and inflation rate of the country, the Commission's intent is to fix the salary for the government employees. The government formed the 17-member commission led by former Bangladesh Bank governor Mohammad Farashuddin on November 24 last year and it was scheduled to submit its recommendations on the civil service pay scale in December 2014. Alongside the pay structure, the Commission will also recommend various reforms.
The Commission is exploring whether it would be possible to extend various facilities to the government staff in place of an increase in allowance, various insurance facilities including health and accident insurance for all government staff. The Commission would recommend formation of a fund where a staff would deposit some money towards the procurement of a flat after retirement at the start of his job; the government would also contribute towards it. Taking car loans will be mandatory for officials ranging from Deputy Secretary to Additional Secretary to stop misuse of funds regarding the government transport pool.
It is imperative to pay bureaucrats sufficiently to have a corruption free administration, but an enormous salary will not fend off the corrupted government employees from practicing dishonesty. Corruption is interrelated not only with salary but morality, values and process of recruitment. Where the country's public sector employment is largely (56 percent) dominated by quota (of it 30pc reserved for 2pc freedom fighters' wards) suppressing merit, a large number of inept employees run the government services resulting a corrupt bureaucracy.
According to the Labour Force Survey 2010 conducted by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the total employed labour force in public administration and defence is only 4.24 percent out of 4.74 crore (100 percent) labour force in the country. Pay hike for less than 4.24 percent will eventually affect the rest of the people who are employed in agriculture, garments, day labour and other formal and non-formal sectors. To pay the proposed salary, the government has to increase the tax rate and extend VAT or levy areas. What may be the advantage for less than 2pc of the labour force  and their dependents, it would hurt the rest 98 percent people who are not lucky enough of getting a public sector job. We call upon the government to ensure a balance pay structure where nobody would be affected  adversely for another's  advantage.

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