CSC defends restoration of civil servants’ salaries

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has defended its decision to restore civil servants’ salaries and allowances in January to their former levels.

At a press conference today, Abdul Muhsin, vice-president of the commission, said the condition for restoring salaries to pre-October levels was the government’s revenue exceeding Rf7 billion (US$545 million) as it was the main indicator to determine whether the “special economic circumstances” that made the pay cuts necessary had passed.

Muhsin said a statement on the budget published on the finance ministry website stated that income for government offices alone would exceed Rf7 billion.

In the discussions with the finance ministry before the pay cuts were enforced in October, he added, it was agreed that salaries would be restored “automatically” when revenue reached Rf7 billion.

Moreover, the CSC regulations state that changes to salaries must be reviewed every three months.

The finance ministry “has been told” of the decision to restore salaries, he said.

In August, the government introduced a raft of austerity measures, including pay cuts for political employees, reduction of overtime and cutting back on travel, to alleviate the inherited budget deficit.

Last month, the parliamentary committee selected to review the budget made a recommendation to inject Rf617 million to restore civil servants’ salaries.

Muhsin said the commission received a letter from parliament informing them that salaries had to be restored if CSC believed the economic circumstances had passed.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Ahmed Assad, state minister for finance, said the commission did not consult either with the ministry or the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) before making its decision.

“Our indicators don’t show that the economic circumstances have passed,” he said.

Assad said the ministry would “respect the decision of parliament” on the issue of restoring salaries.

Muhsin said all expenditure from the budget was made under the assumption that the projected revenue would materialise. “So the commission’s thinking is why should civil servants’ salaries not be restored from the first day assuming that the income will be received.”

Mohamed Fahmy Hassan, spokesperson for the commission, said the changes were valid for a three-month period and would automatically be restored in January.

“The finance ministry has not discussed with us to maintain the reduction,” he said, adding the restoration was not a decision made by the commission so much as an automatic reversal.

Asked whether the commission believed the “special economic circumstances” had passed, Muhsin said it was beyond the CSCs “area of competence”.

But, he added, statements on the finance ministry’s website and fiscal indicators were publicly available.

The commission only looked to see whether government revenue reached Rf7 billion, he said.

Fahmy said he believed the finance ministry would respect the law and issue funds to restore salaries to their former levels.


One thought on “CSC defends restoration of civil servants’ salaries”

  1. It is disappointing to see the 5-member Civil Service Commission (with two PhD holders) refusing to work in the spirit of reform for the country.

    What we experience each day is not only the CSC getting highly political, but arrogant and stupid as well.

    The whole spirit of the civil service bill is to make the civil service an apolitical body that serves as a secretariat to the government. But what do we see each day?

    Doesn't the CSC understand that the country has a huge deficit and it is compulsory for the government to reduce the deficit to enable economic stability? Doesn't the CSC understand that economic and financial experts have advised the government to make the civil service smaller and make adjustments to their salaries? Doesn't the CSC understand that the government has to protect the rights of all Maldivians and not just the civil servants? Doesn't the CSC understand that it is their duty to make sure that the civil servants understand the national and the global economic recess and the need to reduce the salaries until the country is on a stable footing? Doesn't the CSC understand that reviewing the salaries of the civil servants every 3 months means that they have to hold discussions, negotiate and make a decision together with the Finance Ministry?

    These are simple issues that any young person with a university first degree would understand.

    The public elected the current government to power because the public accepted its pledges as relevant and wanted to see them fulfilled. The government is the body assigned with the responsibility to manage the state's finance and deliver its promises. Therefore the government should have the liberty to allocate and distribute funds wherever way deemed necessary and spend the money in the way that it can fulfill its promises and ensure economic stability after its five term.

    The passing of the budget at the Majilis is more a symbolic event. The majilis has no role in administering the state. The role of the majilis in relation to the budget is to ensure that the funds are aligned in the way the government has pledged. If the government do not use the funds during the course of the year as they say they would in the budget, the MPs has the power to can call up any minister and clarify from them.

    We can see the shortcomings of the MPs by the number of ill-bills passed - the latest is the one for the People with Special Needs. Some of the very crucial laws such as the one on Human Rights Commission and the Civil Service Commission and the Employee's bill were passed at a time of uncertainty and political tension in the country. We know that they are not well-thought out.

    It is the Finance Ministry who has the expertise and professionalism in Planning and Finance. Not the Majilis - most of whom has an education of junior secondary level.

    The CSC’s duty seems to be to keep on giving hope to the DRPs activists - most of them in the civil service that DRP is coming to power any day. The CSC also wants to return a big favor to DRP for having them elected as commission members. All 5 of them have been highly ineffective people in their careers and Gayoom's loyalists.

    The CSC is hell bent on getting elected for a second five year term. "Who wouldn't?" they would say "When all we have to do is pocket a fat salary and sit back".


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