By Demion McTair. Updated 4:29 p.m., Wednesday, September 7, 2022, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said today (September 7), the government, “will deliver a salary increase for the public servants and we want to do so for 2023, 2024 and 2025”.
Dr. Gonsalves said, however, that it must be done properly.
The Prime Minister, who was speaking on the State-owned NBC radio this morning, said: “but we have to do this thing reasonably because if you increase the wealth of the country, everybody has to get a piece of it. Isn’t that fair and reasonable?”
No proposed figure was given by the prime minister, but his comments came after the Public Service Union – PSU and the SVG Teachers’ Union said on August 31, that they planned to discuss a number of proposals with the government on September 6, including a 10% salary increase.
In his remarks on NBC Radio today, Dr. Gonsalves, referring to the proposed salary increases in relation to projected economic growth in the country, said:
“…and because of the downside risks, we have to put something aside. What we have to do, everybody has to get a little piece of the action… and we have to be fair about it.”
The International Monetary Fund – IMF, its Staff Concluding Statement of the 2022 Article IV Mission, projected real GDP growth of 5 percent this year,” and said, “Growth is projected to strengthen to 6 percent in 2023 as major projects get into full swing.”
St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ economy is just beginning to show a positive outlook after it declined in 2020, recording negative growth of 5.3 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, during which the La Soufrière volcano erupted, real economic growth was just 0.7 percent, according to the World Bank.
In relation to the proposed salary increases and the projected economic growth, the prime minister said: “Then secondly, some of that growth, we have to reinvest to increase production further and you have to put something aside for rainy days.”
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has given a number of salary increases since 2002, but no increases were given since 2020.
On the NBC radio this morning (September 7), prime minister Dr. Gonsalves also urged public servants to remember the “phenomenal” benefits which they receive.
Among the benefits he mentioned is the two-pension system where public servants “get a state pension to which they do not contribute one cent,” and where they “get the contributory one from the NIS which the government puts in its share,”.
“They get one entirely paid for by the tax payer,” he said.