CSC and political appointees: what they get paid (Part I)

Eight months after civil servants got their first pay cut, the political situation has deteriorated with law suits between the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Ministry of Finance.

President Mohamed Nasheed promised to reduce government expenditure, primarily by reducing the civil service and increasing privatisation in the country, and several privatisation partnerships are seeing the transfer of posts from the civil service to government-owned institutions.

Many opposed to the civil servant salary cuts have speculated about the amount paid to political appointees, arguing that it is unfair to cut civil servant salaries while paying large salaries and allowances to appointees. Minivan News has obtained the figures from both sides for the sake of comparison.

The civil service VS political appointees

The Maldivian government is currently spending approximately Rf 5 billion on civil servant salaries per year, approximately 74 percent of the Rf 6.8 billion budget. There are over 29,000 civil servants in the Maldives, comprising almost 10 percent of the population.

Documents obtained by Minivan News show that comparatively the government spends approximately Rf 173 million on the salaries of 354 political appointees per year, and around Rf 75.8 million on salaries for 77 MPs each year.

Labourers earn Rf 4,100 a month with the civil service, the lowest paying job in the CSC. The lowest paying job for political appointees is that of island councillors, who make Rf 12,000 a month.

The highest paying job under the CSC is that of a professor, with earnings of Rf 25,350 a month. Excluding the president and vice president, who earn Rf 100,000 and Rf 75,000 a month respectively, cabinet ministers earn Rf 57,500 a month.

The special envoy for science and technology, for example, earns Rf 45,000 a month, while an assistant professor under the CSC makes Rf 20,920 a month.

Press Secretary for the President’s Office, Mohamed Zuhair, said although political appointees get a higher salary, civil servants have better job security “since they have unlimited tenure.”

On the other hand, he said, political appointees can serve a maximum of ten years in their post, “unless they keep jumping parties,” since a government can only hold two five-year terms.

“A political appointee will fall with the government,” Zuhair added. “But a civil servant can serve for forty, fifty years.”

He said political appointees also have a more authoritative role than civil servants, justifying a higher salary: “If they are not in an authoritative role, how can they be effective?”

Zuhair said political appointees comprise less than two percent of the civil service, and they are the ones “who supervise and ensure the civil servants do their jobs.” Hence, they deserve a higher salary, he added.

Additionally, he said, not all political appointees are “appointed. Some of them are elected.”

One of President Nasheed’s campaign promises was reducing the “top-heavy” government by reducing the number of political appointees, and according to Zuhair, there are fewer political appointees under this government than the previous one.

Minivan News reported in April last year there had been 440 political appointees under former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s government, and at the time, there were 538 political appointees under President Nasheed’s government.

Zuhair told Minivan News today that when the civil service was created in 2007, the former government transferred many of its appointees to posts in the civil service “so in case they lost the election, they still have many people with them.”

He added the former government was “not counting right” and their numbers “weren’t technically correct,” as they had everyone, including muezzins, working for them as political appointees.

In mid-March 2010, Independent MP Mohamed Nasheed requested a list of political appointees and their salaries from the Ministry of Finance, to clarify exactly how many appointees were working under the government.

Another of President Nasheed’s promises was to reduce the civil service and thus reduce government expenditure. The health sector is one of the first industries to go through this transition.

Member of the CSC, Mohamed Fahmy Hassan, said there have been many posts which have been abolished from the CSC and transferred to independent institutions, such as TV Maldives and and newly formed Maldives Health Services Corporation.

“The number of civil servants will be less now,” Fahmy said, “but the question is, how do you define public service?”


35 thoughts on “CSC and political appointees: what they get paid (Part I)”

  1. Zuhair sounds like the former dictators spokes person Mundoon... Like he is desperately trying to cover up a big mess...

    one question...what exactly does the special envoy for science and technology do to get MRF 45,000, and isn't he also in charge of MTCC or something too?

    If there is one person filling two political posts...then i can see how the initial number of political appointees was reduced from 538 to 354...

    Also 354 political appointees is not much less from the amnt Gayoom had, which is 440??

    Civil servants are the life blood of this nation...they r the workers... they r our mothers, fathers and children...and they deserve to be paid well. Where as political appointees seems like a tool of the govt...and i see no reason why they shud have both the power and authority and unreasonably high salaries...

    It also seems like a huge waste of money to pay the Majlis members all that money... they waste time, and do not work enough for the amnt they get...

    I voted for a change... i do not see the change... just keep hearing excuse after excuse...

  2. Actually the high wages given to political appointees is not justified at all, given the situation the country is in today. Obviously the authority given to them isn't effective since no one is listening to them and its the gangs that rule this country today. The Government is there in name only and they themselves are being ruled by gang leaders. So lets stop wasting valuable public resources by paying such inefficient people money that this country can little afford now. Furthermore, I am pretty sure that the high wages paid to the political appointees is a way of buying them since with such great incentives, its the position that becomes more important for such people, rather than the responsibilities they are supposed to carry out while in that position. For fear of losing their position, nobody dares to go against all the injustice that is being done even today. Lets just turn a blind eye and continue to blame the previous government. What's really sad is that we the people of Maldives are tolerating this.

  3. This is a very old story. Zuhair is right. Many DRP ad PA cronies are still in senior government positions holding back all the services rendered to the public. Unless we clean these "flies" we are never going to improve our services to the public. There is nothing wrong to appoint people to do the job, but MDP had no choice but to increase the number of political appointees ONLY because DRP activist are in disguise in the civil service.

  4. So let’s be clear about all this…

    5,000 Million MRF is spent on Civil Servants, where as 173 Million is spent on Political Appointees. So basically less than 3.5% of the amount spent on Civil Servants are spent on Political Appointees.

    Okay, but then we have comparisons between pay grades. Are we really going to compare an Island Councilor to a Laborer?! Really? Are we comparing a government Professor to a national Cabinet Member? Or a representative of our government (in an Envoy) to an Assistant Professor?!?! This is completely ridiculous!

    In the United States there are over 9,000 positions for political appointees. There must be people who are chosen by the President, who share’s the President’s vision, to lead the various bureaucratic offices of government in order to be effective! The Civil Service can only function as direct by political appointees because they are there to fulfill the vision which was elected by the people! The vision that is represented in the Executive Office!

    We promised to reduce Political Appointees expenditure and we have! We promised to reduce executive expenditure (and even with two heads of state – the President and VP) we have still managed to drastically reduce expenditure. In the old days, the protocol officers traveled with up to 100,000 USD in just PETTY CASH.
    Today none of the waste that was rampant in the past exists. And in order for us to look to the future, we cannot continue to use government salaries as a form of rents to keep a portion of the population subservient to the government. The reason we made the Civil Service Commission, and the Civil Service itself independent was towards this aim.

    But instead, we’re being fought every step of the way. Yes, we did not manage to lower the official number of appointees – but that is because under Gayoom, EVERYONE was an appointee! The only reason we need to have people in every department now is because we need to make sure that the people who switched over to the Civil Service from Gayoom’s staff don’t sabotage the framework which we are trying to implement.

    We need to be effective to be successful.

  5. lol i hope DO sappe is worth paying that much, or for that matter any other political appointee.

    why cant the gov cut back on PO salaries, if they did CSC wouldn't have won there case. Quite frankly isn't it fair that they won in our current situation.

    Nation down the drain

  6. Salim Waheed - Please clarify as I'm getting a bit confused. You talk about you reducing political appointees and you reducing executive expenditure, when your Dad claims that he does not get to do anything in government. So is your dad lying or is it you and someone else who did all these things you claim to have done.

    Please also get your facts right - the number of political appointees has increased since President Nasheed took office. The salaries of political appointees has also increased compared to under Gayoom, since nasheed took office.

  7. The political appointees are getting 2.5% of the budget whereas the civil servants are getting 74%. Guess where the cuts have to come from?

    Even if you got rid of all the political appointees, that will make NO difference to the budget deficit.

    Isn't there anyone capable of basic maths in society? Or in opposition? The figures speak for themselves. We are living beyond our means and have been doing so for many years.

    When 74% of the budget is spent on paying civil service salaries, we have 26% left to fund education, health, water, sanitation, harbours and all the other essential needs of the country! The maths just doesn't add up!

    I propose this to the government: give a hefty pay rise to the civil servants, as much as they want, but introduce personal taxation! Stipulate a range of personal tax bands, so that the civil servants or anyone else earning more gets taxed more! Then, no one can complain about getting paid less!

    At the same time, inflation will be kept in check, since taxation will ensure that the money is targeted where it is needed.

  8. @Salim

    I am quite astounded that you compare Maldives with States.I do understand that there are fractions that Maldives needs can be congruent with USA, but what you have said is irrelavant. Maldives is a small island nation and the structure of the government and politics is utterly different compared to USA. It is quite appalling that you still speak about the 30 years when you people can't deliver the change people expected.

    Civil servants are the backbone of our country. If political appointess could have brought a better change by exploiting those high pays without the civil servants, the picture that we see today would have been a brighter one and every Maldivian would be enjoying a happy life. The fact is quite otherwise. We need to provide better salaries to them to be motivated and to get their intellect. If salary is decimated it should not be discriminated solely to civil servants.

  9. Completely agree with Moose and Salim.

    Also, hidden behind the fight between CSC and the political salaries is a very interesting fact that the highest CSC salary is that of a professor. This is indeed very interesting given that SCS is basically all ex-education staff. They must be hoping to be professors when Maldives university starts up.

    This education dominated CSC is infact a national problem. I wonder which other country pays more to a professor than to their top doctors. As hard as it is to swallow, doctors play a more important role in society than professors. They serve a more fundamental need and are highly trained and more importantly each doctor is far better value in terms of number of people they serve than a professor can even dream of.

    And we wonder why we don't have good doctors. Until a decent bunch of people get hold of CSC, I do not expect things to change - let's face it, the younger generation would remeber how stupid these people were when they were big shots in the education ministry.

  10. Politicians and the governments they form rely on the support of the people. They do anything to gain support and popularity. So why would the government cut down civil servant's salaries if it did not have a legitimate reason? Obviously there are reasonable arguments behind the pay cuts.

  11. I don't know what kind of a pessimist cannot see the difference between 354 and 400?

  12. "He [Zuhair] added the former government was 'not counting right' and their numbers 'weren’t technically correct,' as they had everyone, including muezzins, working for them as political appointees."

    Well, Zuhair, ok, let's not statistically analyse this too much for it will only create more confusion.

    Are there any political appointees in the present government that we can GET RID OF?

    May be I can even rephrase my question.
    Are there any political appointees that will prove the government will be BETTER OFF WITHOUT THEM?

  13. @ Salim Waheed

    "We promised to ... We promised to ... "

    We? Meaning you and who?

  14. selfish MP's ..they get the highest salary and they get holidays more than a school child..y isnt anyone trying to reduce there salaries???..they make the law n they passed the budget for there selfish advantage.....hopless n half baked batch of people doing no good to the country..poor nikamethi rayyithun

  15. This man came to power with fooling everyone,he thought Maldivinas are naive.Please dont think that just because you are white or you studied in Europe , you have better minds to solve our problems.We will catch up with the masters who have driven our Nation to chaos and we will sure make them pay back all what they have paid to Sappe for covert activities to change our young minds.

  16. Special Enjoy for Science and technology spent more than a year in Glasgow after his appointment. The people of Maldives need the money back. That sums to half a million Rufiyaa..

  17. "The only reason we need to have people in every department now is because we need to make sure that the people who switched over to the Civil Service from Gayoom’s staff don’t sabotage the framework which we are trying to implement." or is to ensure that Pres. Nasheed to be labelled as a "despot".

    What the government needs to be and do is "match their actions with their words". Wondwer what the "Executive Vision" is that some elements in the country foresee or want to see. Is it not just another dream or a "nanaa huvafen"......pis pis pis......pity such deranged delusionist aspirations.

  18. This is the most crass journalism and minivan news should have done better and checked their facts.

    It is clearly wrong that the highest paying CSC is a professor. A permanent secretary of an office - which is effectively the head of the civil service in any office - gets paid MRF 35,000 (prior to the existing spending cuts). Even after the spending cuts they get paid MRF 28,000. This is approximately the same as a Deputy Minister - whose ranks are similar in that they are managers of the office.

    The government HAS cut back on PO salaries - the biggest paycuts (of over 25%) was put on them as part of the austerety measures.

  19. Now I'm confused as to who is the highest paid civil servant. Whoever it is, it must always be highly trained technical staff and not some manager such as permanent secretaries... Any half witted man can fill in those roles but try sending one of those to an operating theatre at the hospital... So who should be paid more?

  20. There are some ambassadors who get paid a state ministers salary and lots of other allowances (they are all nicely disguised under various names). The total take home monthly pay of some of these people are close to Rf200,000 a month. Nobody seems to notice this as it is so well hidden as allowances under different names. On top of the salary and all the allowances they are given a flag car, driver, petrol, maid, personal secretary. I wonder why we are sepnding so much on these people. What benefit do they bring to this country? Things like 'winning' a seat in Human Rights council by 'competing' with some countries? Dr. Spindoctor is spinning all this to make sure that the President thinks he is indespensabe to our foreign policy. For God's sake we dont need all this High Commissioners and Ambassadors. The High Commissioners are quite literally living up to their job titles by taking very High Commissions on certain things. The public needs to wake up to this reality. We only need a consular officer to be based in countries where we have sizable number of people. After Spindoctor quit Gayoom's Govt he was shouting all over the place saying that we need to downsize the foreign service. He was saying we need to close down most of the embassies and to reduce the number of doing nothing ceremonial ambassadors who are paid through the nose of our poor public.

  21. Speaking of Permanent Secretaries, they are the head of the civil servants in a ministry so they supervise & monitor the civil servants and their work (not politically appointed people as Mr. Zuhair seem to think so). So isn't the salary justified?

    The current policy of reducing expenditure is a good policy theoretically...but the approach leaves a lot to be said for. As someone mentions above, the MPs get the a very high salary & a lot of holidays...Civil servants who get paid an average of RF 7,000-8,000 should not be the only ones to make the sacrifice. Its a national crisis, not just a crisis for civil servants.

    Most people who are against CSC & who support the reduction of the number of civil servants & their salaries live abroad / belong to MDP /are not civil servants.

  22. The statistics provided to IMF & world bank by Min. of Finance in August 2009, there were 663 political appointees & they amount to 2% of total public service. However, they consume 3% of public pay bill. Today, there must be much more than this number as every day we see more appointments of political posts.
    My main concern is while the civil servants are blamed & their salary is being reduced to cut costs, the public pay bill has gone through the skies. the govt is creating various companies in which the staff pay is bourne by the govt. thus the reduction of the civil servants & their salary reduction is not translated into reduction of public pay bill savings.

  23. Minivannews, you should make up graphs and charts if you're going to compare so many numbers. This is the era of graphical information. This website seems really behind in that respect.

  24. Also, clicking the picture makes it load the same page again. Logically, you'd think that would enlarge the thumbnail or lead you to a gallery of pictures on the same topic.

  25. Any person, whether political appointee or civil servant, must be paid according to the amount of work/service they actually put out to make this a nation that serves its public better. And performance can be measured. Otherwise nobody has any business spending public money on anyone, civil servant or political appointee.

  26. As some people has mentioned, the govt seemed to think that removing civil servants who (or who the govt thinks) are affiliated to DRP will be the answer to everything & the economic situation will magically become fixed.

    Most of the educated youth voted for this govt because we all wanted a better life for us, our parents & the next generation, not to see a better life only for people who join the ruling party.

    If your child misbehaves, would you publicly punish the child, disown the child, get the child arrested? Or would you rather talk it over with your child and try to solve the problem at home? Civil servants are children of the govt / nation, so if there's a disagreement, shouldn't it be resolved by talking & negotiating? What we see today is totally different...

    civil servants are being blamed largely for incurring national deficit, being treated as if they are insignificant...people forget that without civil servants, who's going to do govt office's work?

    HassanK, you mentioned that professors are getting more than a you realise that the highest rank a medical doctor can get is "Professor"...the doctors are also taught by medical Professors. therefore, in the civil service, medical doctors are among the highest ranking staff but i'm not in any way saying that the doctors or any civil servant are getting a big salary as they should be getting.

    You talk about the CSC being dominated by ex-education ministry staff...they have more experience in managing an office than most of the current political appointees & in fact proved it many times over...or do you believe that some of the uneducated councillors who were a sailor or fisherman can run the island office better just because they belong to the party?

  27. Hey guys,

    So, I apologize for the somewhat misleading "We"'s.

    When i saw that "We promised.." I mean the MDP Itthihaad Campaign of which i was a part. Even when we formed Wathan Edhey Gotha, it was still an MDP Itthihaad Manifesto that we advocated.

    Later on I said, "we manged to lower appointee numbers." Those of you who pointed it out, you're absolutely right, I cannot speak on behalf of the government. I do believe that there is a difference between Civil Servants today - and what could be compared to the previous administration.

    Of course we need to have political appointees. There is a reason that they exist within democractic systems. When we voted for a change, we voted for a change in policy and practice. This means a reduced expenditure and the implementation of policy.

    It does not mean arbitrarily reducing the number of Political Appointees. We need them in order to give structure to bureaucracy.

    Saleem, My father was allowed to have some impact at the beginning, but since then his authority has been steadily eroded and now his 16 years worth of international development experience is no longer being utilized. MDP is talking about expelling him from the President's Office and making him an lame duck Vice President. That is not what the people elected him for. During the MDP Itthihaad Campaign, we said that DrW would use his experience to guide the President, and that guidance is no longer being sought. This is not acceptable.

    Aneel, Of course i will compare the Maldives to the States. Because there is a reason that a bureaucracy needs to have political appointees. There is a reason why stable democracies have them. Civil Servants do not SET policy. They help to carry it out under the direction of the Political Appointees!

    And of course pay cuts should not only go to Civil Servants. The political appointees should take paycuts as well! In fact, they were voluntarily giving back their money to the government when the pay cuts were first implemented.

    And contrary to rumor, all those so called allowances have now been done away with. We are literally saving hundreds of thousands of dollars each month - and many people are very mad because of this. But thats what happens when you try to create a stable government that does not use government coffers as a form of rent, buying the loyalty of the people.

    I do agree that pay cuts should be made gradually, and that they should apply to civil servants. However, higher salaries for cabinet members and our international representatives and those who lead policy implementation is completely justified.

  28. Matter of spending money on civil servants or politically appointed servants cannot and should not be misjudged by especially this government!

    After all it is the people's money and it is in this government's manifesto that we saw the slightest notion of returning the Maldives to its peoples!

    Looking at facts and comparing salaries of two people paid salaries with the people's money, I see following differences:

    Special Envoy (who falls with government, after 5 years as reportedly said in this article) with a salary of Rf. 45,000 per month gets (45,000x12x5 = 1,255,200/=) in 5 years.

    Professor (who perhaps would go on for 10,15 or even 20 years) with a salary of Rf. 20,920 per month over a period of five years gets (20,920x12x5 = 2,700,000/=) in 5 years.

    2,700,000 - 1,255,200 = 1,444,800/=

    The political appointee within the 5 year term have milked the people 1,444,800 rufiya more than the civil servant! If this go on for an additional 5 years or 10 or 15 or 20 , then ????

    I would rather think @Robin's rephrased version of the "getting rid" question is an opted solution rather than peoples having to bare the brunt of unwanted, unjustifiable and unethical spending!

    Let it be equal measures and let not the politician take advantage of the peoples!

  29. Dearest Salim Waheed..

    Simple Match..

    USA: Popultation = 307,006,550 (307 million.
    USA: Political Appointees = 9000

    So if Maldives has 330,000 people... Simple Proportion gives a result: ONLY 9 POLITICAL APPOINTEES for Maldives...

    So why didn't you take up India or China... The number would probably have been larger...

  30. Salim, you mention 9000 political posts in USA...USA is a superpower that has a population of over 309.21 million that is divided into 50states...

    309210000 / 9000 = 34356

    so that makes 01 political post for every 34356 people.

    If our population is 350,000 & political posts are 660 (adding to the figure someone mentions above),

    350000 / 660 = 530

    So that makes 01 political post for every 530 people...

    seriously, do we really need that many political appointees? they are important for policy making & all that, but at the rate the government is going, soon its going to be more policy makers than office workers...

    How can reducing the salary & number of civil servants & increasing the political appointees justify cutting costs?
    I can't believe that the government & pro-government people like yourself are trying to justify this.

  31. I don't think MDP per se talks anything about the Vice President Dr. Waheed.(inclusion, exclusion or even existence.)

    Reeko Moosa of MDP sometimes gets carried away and mentions him. That's it.

  32. Let's not talk about Salary.. My position is simple, if someone is worth it, we get him no matter what the cost followed by what people don't do that is; when someone is not worth it we fire him. So who should be fired? Can we make a list together.
    1. DO Sappey
    2. Zuhair
    4. Adviser Afeef
    3. Economic minister Mohamed Rasheed
    4. Home minister Shihab
    5. Finance Minister Ali Hashim
    6. ..
    7. .. ill leave it to the readers.

  33. Now, the not so funny side of this is that Members of Parliament pay themselves huge salaries and they've continuously refused to reduce them.

    Moreover, they have not passed a single bill that has a substantial impact on the income generating capacity of the country. What a bunch of morons!

  34. Do Sappey is a useless crook.. A Hypocrite who changed sides the last minute to Qasim.. And later rejoined MDP when everything was rosy... Fire Him... We need to get rid of this moron.

  35. It seems the so called fourth power of our democracy- The Media (especially TV, Radio) is quite silent on the Parliament pay cut issue.

    The last time I checked, an economic crisis befallen on the people of it's country or state is a situation of national concern and calls for a concerted effort from all spheres of the community.

    The Parliament representing the people is the 2nd (Ibra says 1st) fundamentally important pillar of the Republic State, and their salaries are borne by the State. However, these pee brained MPs selfishly refuse to exercise pay cuts similarly done so for the political appointees and the CS citing no real crisis whatsoever but a "staged" crisis despite numerous reports from the IMF, WB, MMA and Finance Min- what retards!

    Amidst all this, what displeases me most is that we saw the Media asleep not putting any significant pressure on the Parliament to exercise reasonable pay cuts and prove some loyalty towards the people who they are answerable to at the end of the day.

    I only wish the Media to be engaged in constructive criticism and busy pressuring the institutions to do the right thing in the best interest of the population and advocate for fairness among institutions in bearing the brunt of the crisis.

    However, in spite of the peoples expectations for greater professionalism and action, the Media continues to portray itself as a cheap mouth-piece of every Tom, Dick and Harry in Town (just watch the various news programs and you'll hear mostly "he said that, she said this, they replied this, we think that bla bla")

    In short to describe the existing Media- as Ahmed says, what a bunch of flying morons!


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