Some salaries restored, rest to follow in April

The reduced salaries of staff at independent commissions, courts, parliament and the judicial services have been restored while civil servant salaries will follow in April, the government has said.

State Minister for Finance Ahmed Assad said the salaries had been increased in line with the budget approved by parliament and that the salaries of civil servants and staff at other government institutions would follow when the government’s economic condition stabilised.

“The government intends to restore salaries sooner than April if possible,” Assad said, adding that he would have preferred all salaries to be restored at the same time.

Speaking during his weekly radio address, the president said the government’s present situation was “unsustainable” and the Maldives had “the highest wages in the world relative to expenditure over income”.

“Despite criticisms and calls for protests by several people, public servants appreciate the value and importance of public sector reforms undertaken by the government,” he claimed.

“Fiscal adjustments” were necessary, he said, because of the country’s large financial deficit.

“I [therefore] wish to thank all civil servants very much.”

The president’s press secretary Mohamed Zuhair said he expected that the government’s economic condition to improve by April.

He further added that the decision to restore the salaries was “not related” to Thursday night’s protest outside the president’s residence, Muleeage.

Spokesperson for the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Mohamed Fahmy Hassan sounded disappointed and said it was hard for him to trust the president’s words because they differed from the actions of the finance ministry “and the way things have gone.”

“We do not know what to [do] now,” he said, adding that it was unfair for government staff other than civil servants to receive the restored salaries.

”We have been repeatedly begging the finance ministry,” he said. “The president wishes the best for civil servants, but these things are happening without the knowledge of the president.”

Spokesperson for the Civil Servants Association (CSA) Abdulla Waheed said the government was ruling the Maldives “as if there was no law.”

He said that the CSA was planning to hold a protest in front of finance ministry on Tuesday.

Many civil servants were “afraid to come out for protest because they might be fired,” he added.