CSC denies finance ministry’s claims

The Civil Service Commission has denied claims by the finance ministry that Rf1 billion (US$77 million) was injected into budget in June due to incorrect information provided by the commission.

A press release issued by the CSC yesterday states that the commission worked together with the finance ministry and sought its advice through all the stages when the pay scheme for civil servants was restructured in February.

“The two sides did not carry out the work only at a technical level. The highest level on both sides was involved,” it reads. “Both sides examined all the accounts and knew the figures. A surprising figure did not emerge in the accounts either then or now.”

The finance ministry reportedly told parliament’s finance committee that it added the Rf1 billion because of incomplete information about civil servants when the pay scheme was restructured in February.

According to local daily Haveeru, Finance Minister Ali Hashim and State Minister Ahmed Assad told the committee last week that the ministry was not given complete information on temporary staff and employees hired on a contract basis.

“So when we came to the middle of the year and evaluated the salaries again, we believed the projected figure right now is what we estimate for this year,” Hashim told MPs.

Assad said Rf4.2 billion (US$326 million) for civil servants’ salaries was estimated from the discussions with the CSC, but when the information was cleared up, it increased to Rf5.2 billion (US$404 million).

The corresponding figure for 2008 was Rf3.3 billion (US$256 million).

Assad said a list of employees who were paid obtained by the ministry did not tally with the CSC list.

He added the ministry learned in June that the actual figure needed would exceed Rf4.2 billion as the information provided by CSC did not include contracted employees and others.

MPs severely criticised the government after its projected costs turned out to be inaccurate. An error of 23 per cent in the estimates was hard to believe, they said, and records of payments to employees should be available at the finance ministry and Bank of Maldives.

Responding to the criticism, Assad said he believed such an error should not have been made and the information was provided by the CSC.

He added the lack of an accurate registry of government employees was “shameful”.

The CSC press release states that the commission informed the finance ministry of 30,334 employees when the pay scheme was restructured and estimated that Rf3.35 billion had to be spent on salaries and allowances for 11 months.

It adds that there were 29,334 civil servants when the CSC enforced pay cuts on 1 October due to the special economic circumstances.

“In June this year, Rf275.82 million (US$21 million) was spent on these employees (the employees that were working in June),” the press release states. “This means, when the calculations are done based on that for 11 months, the expenditure will be Rf3.03 billion (US$233 million).”

Therefore, it adds, Rf321.93 million (US$25 million) would be left over from the estimated figure of Rf3.35 billion (US$260 million) the CSC gave to the finance ministry at the beginning of the year.