The ongoing dispute between the finance ministry and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has heated up, after the CSC warned it would take legal action against any CSC member who prepares a wages bill with the reduced salaries.
A letter circulated among permanent secretaries urged them to send the salary sheets to the finance ministry with the restored levels, and said employees who prepared the wage bill would have to bear responsibility both for the reduced salary and disregarding the CSC’s directive.
The finance ministry retaliated by threatening legal action against government payroll officers who failed to fill out a reduced salary sheet, while a highly-placed source in the government said political appointees rather than civil servants would fill out the salary sheets.
On 13 January the finance ministry issued a statement directing all government institutions to make out the salary sheets according to the reduced amount, claiming that the three month period of reduced civil servant pay is to be increased until the government’s “special circumstances” are resolved.
The CSC has meanwhile announced that the finance ministry’s agreement to reduce civil servants’ salary for three months is now over, claimed that all civil servants must receive their full salary starting from this month.
The country’s political parties divided over the issue.
The opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) claimed the finance ministry “has no right” to deduct the salary of civil servants.
DRP member Mohamed Hussain ”Mundhu” Shareef said the party was resolute that civil servants would receive the same salaries as before.
“When President Nasheed came to the administration, reducing the amount of civil servants to from 29,000 to 18,000 was not in his manifesto,” Mundhu said, accusing him “of torturing the people”.
Reducing, increasing and resolving civil servants salaries was in the hands of the CSC, he said, and that the finance ministry was unable to set the salary against the CSC’s wishes.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed “Colonel” Nasheed said the salary crisis was a national issue and an “economic domino” waiting to fall.
“If the CSC is upset there are a lot of problems we face other than civil servants salaries,” he said.
Nasheed suggested that the government institutions involved needed to get together and come to an agreement.