The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has called on the government to include the restored salaries for the civil servants in next year’s budget.
In September last year the Finance Ministry and the Civil Service Commission agreed to reduce the salaries of civil servants for three months because of the country’s poor financial circumstances. The matter became controversial towards the end of September when the Finance Ministry refused to restore all of the salaries to former levels.
The CSC has since taken the Finance Ministry to court, winning the first round in the civil court and forcing the government to appeal in the High Court.
At the same time, in its Country Report for the Maldives, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) acknowedged the “intense political pressure” but maintained that the restoration of public sector wages “would have a large fiscal impact”, and prevent economic recovery “in the near term”.
President of the CSC, Hassan Fahmy, said today that the commission had met with President Mohamed Nasheed to discuss the issue, and that he had told the commission that the salaries “could be restored soon.”
“Nine months have passed, and we have been trying to resolve the issue through the legal system,’’ Fahmy said. “When the Civil Court ruled that the Finance Ministry does not have the authority to give out orders to decrease the salaries of civil servants, instead of implementing the verdict, the government has appealed in the High Court.”
The High Court has yet to rule on the issue.
Fahmy said the commission wanted “the original salaries of civil servants to be included in the budget next year.”
“It cannot be said that salaries were ‘increased’,” Fahmy said. “It will be the ‘original’ salary of civil servants.”
He said the commission had also sent a letter to the president yesterday as well.
“If it is included in the budget, then it will be for the MPs to approve it [and not the government],’’ Fahmy said. “We hope the government will understand and take leadership to restore the salaries of civil servants.”
The President has meanwhile established a committee to hold discussions between the governtment and the CSC, according to a statement issued by the President’s office.
The Committee will be chaired by the President and will include Minister of Finance and Treasury Ali Hashim, Minister of Economic Development Mahmood Razee, Attorney General Ahmed Ali Sawad, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Dr Ibrahim Didi, President of CSC Mohamed Fahmy Hassan, Vice President of CSC Ahmed Hassan Didi, CSC member Dr Mohamed Ali, CSC member Khadheeja Adam, Secretary General of CSC Abdulla Khaleel.
The President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and State Minister for Finance Ahmed Assad were not responding to calls at time of press.