CSC and political appointees: Pay cuts (Part II)

In part two of our comparisons between salaries of political appointees and civil servants, Minivan News examines the pay cuts initiated last year, parliament and the government’s promotion of state-owned companies.

The figures reported by Minivan News yesterday represented the fixed salaries of both political appointees and civil servants. The pay cuts made to salaries last October meant a 20 percent reduction for political appointees and a 15 percent reduction to civil servants’ salaries.

Press Secretary for the President’s Office, Mohamed Zuahir, said starting on 13 May 2010, civil servants and political appointees will get a 7 percent reimbursement from the government, which will go into a pension fund.

“Meaning those who had a 15 percent reduction will now only have an 8 percent reduction,” Zuhair noted.

Most members of the civil service are in the middle management services, who earn anywhere from Rf 7,680 to Rf 10,106 after the pay cuts. This rank includes directors, senior technical officers and deputy and assistant directors.

The wages of Permanent Secretaries have also been queried, as they are civil servants working for political appointees. They are not in the regular structure but are linked to deputy ministers.

Their fixed salaries were originally of Rf 20,500 plus Rf 15,000 for allowances. After the 20 percent pay cut which started in October 2009, they now earn a total of Rf 28,400 a month. This makes permanent secretaries the highest paid members of the civil service, followed by professors who now earn Rf 20,280 after the pay cuts.

Civil servants and political appointees

The figures obtained by Minivan News show the highest number of political appointees are island councillors, with 168 across the country. After the pay cuts, they are making Rf 9,600. In total, the government is spending Rf 1,612,800 per month on island councillor’s salaries alone.

The figures also show that 35 state ministers and 55 deputy ministers are currently working for the government. State ministers are currently being paid Rf 37,600 a month, while deputy ministers get  Rf 28,400 per month, after the 20 percent salary reductions.

Together, the wages for state and deputy ministers add up to Rf 2,878,000 per month.

Despite Parliament’s decision to pass the decentralisation bill without the provinces act, and the government’s promise to reduce political appointees, former Utility Development Director at the President’s Office, Ahmed Nasheed, was appointed Deputy Minister of State for the South-Central Province yesterday.

His wages bring the figure up to Rf 2,906,400 each month.

Government-owned companies

Another point of contention has been the creation of government-owned companies which have been transferred from the civil service, such as the Malé Health Services Corporation.

Those who are critical of the salary cuts for civil servants have argued the government is still technically paying the wages of those working in these companies, which means government expenditure on wages has not reduced.

Zuhair said the creation of these companies was not only to reduce the civil service, but “it is also a more practical model.”

He said these companies are “self-sufficient and depend on earnings as a commercially viable business,” and are now relying more on Private Public Partnerships (PPPs) than on government subsidies.

Zuhair noted although many state-owned companies such as STELCO were receiving government subsidies in the past, new policies mean they will not be subsidised any more. “MNBC salaries were given out based on revenue,” he added.


MPs are currently earning Rf 62,500 a month, and are among the few sectors paid by the state who did not take a pay cut last year.

Parliamentary sittings take place three days a week, and there are three Parliament sessions a year. The sessions are held for three months and are followed by a one-month break.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP for Hoarafushi, Ahmed Rasheed, said he would not support a reduction to MPs’ salary cuts because he is always helping his constituents by giving them money of his salary. “I am not using a single rufiyah from my salary,” he said. “Last month, I spent Rf 134,600 for my island’s people. When you look at it like that, 62,500 is not much.”

Rasheed said this money was used mostly for medical purposes, including bills from IGMH and even air fares to Sri Lanka for medical treatment.

He said people from his island “are very poor, and right now they don’t know what to do.”

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP for Galolhu South, Ahmed Mahlouf, said if the economic situation was really that bad, “then yes, of course we would agree with lowering our salaries.” But, he said, “DRP and other opposition MPs don’t believe that the salary of any servant should be reduced.”

He said “Maldives is not going through such a bad economic stage,” adding that “even during the tsunami salaries weren’t reduced.”

Mahlouf said no one’s salaries should have been reduced, and “if we agreed to reduce it, it would mean we agree with the economic situation being that bad. That is why we are fighting for their rights.”


15 thoughts on “CSC and political appointees: Pay cuts (Part II)”

  1. Privatization can be an effective approach if done properly...but what we see today is that the name changes to a private company but the government still pays the salary. State-owned companies like MNSL, MIFCO, MNBC and so on mostly operate on losses because proper procedures were not applied. Only companies like Dhiraagu & MWSC make profit.

    If the government is paying about $5 million for less than 1000 political appointees (not including the salaries of MPs), how can they justify cutting the salaries of 29000 civil servants who get an average of 7000-8000?

  2. The issue is not whether the employees are part of a corporate or the civil service. From a purely money point of view, both salaries are paid out of the government coffers so its the same dough.

    The issue is also not how much people get paid if they are political or of the civil service. Salaries should be paid on the work they do and the responsibility they shoulder! This is not a communist country for god sakes!

    The issue is mismanagement on a grand scale. The blame cannot be 100% apportioned to this government, but they have to accept that after promising whole sale changes, they have by and large kept old the bad old habits by changing name on the tin!

    My opinion is that this government has the best of intentions at heart, but have alienated too many technocrats in society who would be able to deliver their agenda. They have relied too heavily on their core activist support by rewarding them with high salaried posts for the sake of loyalty and ultimately paranoia!

    Feeding this cycle of patronage (a remanant from Gayoom & before most prob) will never get us out of this hole we find ourselves in. I would call on the government to:

    1) Yes, cut the civil service, it is too big and ineffective, BUT

    2) at the same time, make sure you get good people in. Yellow, Blue, Pink or Red, just get people in who are qualified to do the job for you (I don't mean some Micky Mouse degree from Malaysia - people who have shown they can get stuff done!)

    We have no qualms about about you paying 30k to someone who is worth it, but that is the key. Someone who EARNS the 30k!

  3. "The figures also show that 35 state ministers and 55 deputy ministers are currently working for the government". I wonder from where the author obtained these figures. The Maldives Government both under Gayoom and Nasheed has this habit of appointing cronies to political posts at certain ranks. So when you count the number of State Ministers and Deputy Ministers you have to count those that are appointed at those ranks. So if you do a proper count the number of State Ministers is not 35. Its 55. The number of deputy ministers is not 55 but 77. This makes Maldives WORLD NUMBER ONE in this.

  4. MPs really should stop being so selfish, and ignorant. Ahmed Rasheed - why not encourage your constituents to utilise the health insurance scheme that the government has initiated? And Mahlouf really should learn some basic economics. This is the product of an opposition that continues to want to be in denial about the economic damage wrought upon this nation. Or one in which the leadership is just purely playing childish politics and keeping their minions under false impressions. This is not something that is being dreamed up by the MDP. Why not take a look around the world, and see what is happening elsewhere too, as a result of overspending and accumulation of debt. And the measures being taken elsewhere. Indian civil servants had a wage cut (if memory serves me right) right at the beginning of the crisis. And India is a country that was not even in a really bad situation. Look at Europe. Greece, Portugal, etc etc. If this is the calibre of leadership in an opposition that claims it knows better, may Allah save us all.

  5. As for the current economic situation, most countries are now worried about second round effects of the crisis. Particularly since international commodity prices once again seem to be on the rebound. High time all politicians stopped playing games and started dealing in reality.

  6. Mahloof is one of the most incompetent MP, somewhat stuck in the intermediary stages of evolution even the DRP uses him as a tool. But of course the worst this kind is that Independent MP Musthafa whatshisname, no one really who he is, he is known as the dolt with funny voice.

    *all of this satire of course

  7. the whole problem lies in trying to determine pay n benefits through political means rather than through economics of supply n demand. Well , thats the very nature of governments. As such privatization is the only way forward if done correctly. Then those who create value will be rewarded more n those who offer nothing will not be employed. If private schools or hospitals or any entity want to attract good talent they have to offer high pay. That pay will come from fees collected from their customers.

    then only will we see high skilled people like doctors be paid higher than mere paper shuffler such permenant secretaries n science special envoys.

  8. I'm sure Mahlouf's own party doesn't think much of him as an economic think-tank. He must have been on holiday on the Moon during the last few years to say that the Maldivian economy is not so bad.

    Apparently Mahlouf knows better than the World Bank, IMF and the Asian Development Bank put together! Bravo. I think we should nominate him to the head of one of these prestigious organisations.

  9. I think even the majlis members must make sacrifices.I guess DRP members are in "dream world" not to know what the whole world is going through.

  10. To me it is sickening to hear arguments that they need higher salaries to give to their constituents. If this is the morality and interlectual development of our MPs then how do we get anything right in Maldives. What they are giving away this way is pure bribe and nothing else. This money is in return for votes next time. How are we ever going to have new people in parliament with this model?

    There is a welfare system and that should be the only way state funds gets given to people. Truely their argument is sickening...

  11. Mahfool. I guess the good people of Galolhu must feel very proud to have such a beacon of economic wisdom as their representative.

    As someone once said - Democracy is a system whereby people get the leaders they deserve!!!

  12. "Zuhair noted although many state-owned companies such as STELCO were receiving government subsidies in the past, new policies mean they will not be subsidized any more. “MNBC salaries were given out based on revenue,” he added."

    This concept cannot be applied to the newly formed Male' Health Corporation as it is impossible to make any revenue from such a company. With the current prices of IGMH it will be impossible for the corporation to pay the salaries for employees of IGMH.
    The average salary of a Medical Officer is approximately Rf 15,000. The average salary of a specialist is some where around Rf 25,000 – Rf 30,000. Nurses make about Rf 10,000 per month. I don’t see any way that the corporation can pay the salaries, pay the utility bills, ensure that the hospital is stocked with all the daily necessities and also invest to develop the hospital. Lets not forget that the recent hike in doctors salary in India means our biggest source of cheap employment is also compromised at the moment.
    If the prices are raised the people won’t be able to afford health care in the Maldives. This is a fact and no amount of nit picking is going to change this. And we all know how well raising the tariffs for electricity and water is working out. The governments answer for the health sector is the Madhana health INSURANCE scheme
    In the end nothing is achieved universally. Most of the state-owned companies such as STELCO are still receiving government subsidies and so will the MHSC. The only change is the government has the power to do what ever they want regarding the employees.

  13. this is really adding insults to injury. I supposed it is not realistic to expect MPs to vote for their own reduction in salary. There mjust be some other way to reduce their salaries plus the bajiyaas they get ot eat for tea.

  14. “self-sufficient and depend on earnings as a commercially viable business,” WTF!! Juhaa must be really insane.

    Anon 5:14 above has explained very well why these companies and corporations will not work. I guess this guy Zuhair is living up very well to his name 'Juhaa'. Juhaa the Clown of Maldives.

  15. The current administrations intentions to restructure the civil service and corporatize services is well-intentioned and admirable. BUT a lot of this drive has somehow been warped by control-issues, paranoia and the all-pervasive nepotist-favoritist-patron complex that affects almost all Maldivian politicians.

    A sad state of affairs and one the current government lacks the political will and capacity to tackle. The utilities companies are rife with corruption and bad hiring practices - the employee roster at some of these places read like a guest list for a family reunion!!!!!

    The freedom to hire consultants and project staff has been abused wholesale by political appointees who only wish to secure positions for family members who will both be loyal to person who granted them a post they did not deserve and allow the political appointee in question the freedom to act with unchecked discretion.

    Also I agree with the spirit of the previous comment that Malaysian higher education lacks a LOT in terms of quality and the inculcation of proper work ethics. More often than not, a Malaysian higher education breeds wheeler-dealerism and pretension without instilling the capacity to actually effect a favorable change in the graduates place of employment.


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