Permanent secretaries sandwiched between CSC and finance ministry

The permanent secretaries of government ministries, responsible for filling in the salary sheets, have become collateral damage in the scrap between the finance ministry and the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

The CSC has ordered permanent secretaries to submit the sheets with salaries at the levels prior to the government’s reductions in October, while the finance ministry has threatened legal action against any civil servants who fill in the salary sheets according to the restored amount.

”We are very disappointed and we do not know what to do now,” said the permanent secretary of the home ministry, Maryam Waheeda.

Waheeda said she had submitted the salary sheet according to the restored amount yesterday, as instructed by the CSC, but the finance ministry had sent it back.

”We cannot do anything against the CSC,” she said. “In this situation when the CSC and the finance ministry are disputing our salary, we the civil servants are worried and wonder how this is going to end.”

The permanent secretary of the trade ministry Yousuf Riza said he had submitted the ministry’s salary sheet both ways, ”how the finance ministry have said, and how the CSC has said.”

“The finance ministry will have to decide which sheet they will accept,” he said.

The permanent secretary of ministry of tourism arts and culture, Ahmed Solih said he had “not yet decided” how he would be making out the salary sheet.

Haveeru reported that the permanent secretary of the defense ministry had been sent home for trying to fill in the salary sheet according to the restored amount, while Ismail Shafeeq, the permanent secretary in perhaps the most contentious position – the finance ministry – would only hint that he had filled in the sheet “as I was told to.”

Asked by who, he replied mysteriously: “the one who told me”.

Meanwhile independent MP Mohamed Nasheed called a press conference and claimed “it is not the duty of the finance ministry to restore, deduct or increase the salary of civil servants.”

“The civil servants’ salary has to processed according to how the CSC instructs,” he said. It it is a right of the finance ministry to go to the court if they have disputes, they should not have to spread circulars saying [civil servants] cannot accept the restored salary.”

Regarding the government’s announcement that it would asked the parliament to arbitrate the dispute, he said the Majlis “was not a government institute from which to get legal advice.”

The civil servants are staging a protest tonight at 8:30 pm near the tsunami monument to protest against the finance ministry for not restoring their salary.