13 Feb 2007

Fiji interim administration confirms its intention to cut public servants' wages

7:38 am on 13 February 2007

Fiji's interim administration will go ahead with a 5% pay cut for all civil servants across the board and the lowering of the retirement age to 55.

In addition, the Cost of Living Adjustments costing tens of millions of dollars agreed to by the deposed Qarase government will be deferred for a year.

The measures are a part of the interim administration's efforts to contain the cost of the civil service which has been soaring over the years.

But the military commander and interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama, says no civil servants will be laid off.

Commodore Bainimarama says the interim administration had already announced a reduction in Value Added Tax on all goods and services by 2 ½%, so the effective pay cut would be just 2 ½%.

He says the pay cut would save 18-million US dollars a year while having only 16 ministers in the interim administration compared with the deposed government's 36 ministers would save the country another 1-point-2 million US dollars.

In 2005 the civil service cost taxpayers 315-million US dollars while the figure for 2006 was projected at 356-million and for this year 385-million US dollars.

Commodore Bainimarama says the money saved by the new measures would be used for development work and to promote economic growth.