Why civil servants yearning for salary raise may wait longer

Why civil servants yearning for salary raise may wait longer
Riek Machar addressing

The plan to increase the salaries of government employees in the next 2022/2023 budget may hit a dead end due to the growing concerns of a financial crisis that renders the decision infeasible.

Addressing a gathering during the commemoration of International Peace Day yesterday, the First Vice President, Riek Machar, said that effecting the proposed amount in the budget was “difficult” and would “consume” the whole 2022/2023 resource envelope.

‘‘Salaries for men and women in uniforms; when we graduated the forces, I remember saying this was a general issue in South Suda. We have no salaries, but what is the solution? Is it raising the salary? “he posed.

“The week before, we attempted to raise the salary not only for our men and women in uniform but for all the public service [sectors],” Machar said, “But the first thing we faced was that our resource envelope would not make it.”

He said the Economic Cluster headed by Vice President James Wani has been directed to explore more sources of income so that civil servants’ salaries can be increased.

“We referred to economic cluster so that they look at ways and means of generating resources that can make us increase salaries.” Even if we did it we would cause unnecessary inflation. “

On September 10, the Minister of Public Service and Human Resource Development, Joseph Bangasi, presented a SSP 658 billion salary budget for all civil servants.

Salary increment remains one of the sticky issues in the country after taking longer. Even when President Sava Kiir in July last year ordered a 100 per cent increment, although insufficient, the increment was hit by alleged corruption, with some employees in some parts of the country yet to receive the revised pay.

This followed several calls by employees and activists on the government to match salaries with the current market prices to prevent hunger-related crimes, especially amongst organized forces. But the amount was referred to the economic cluster for further study before being reflected in the next budget.

Salaries have compelled the majority of civil servants, especially soldiers, to resort to casual work with some engaging in charcoal production for survival as well as criminal activities. Recently, Edmund Yakani , Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO), told leaders to end the vice by salary increment for soldiers.

But Machar, who has knowledge of the suffering of the soldiers, told them during the graduation of the first batch of the unified forces that:

“We are aware that all of our service members earn money (a living) by going to the forest to cut wood for charcoal. But let us come together to combat corruption so that you get a raise in your salaries.”