Friday, April 12, 2024

Ways Govt can afford wage hikes


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THE Head of the economics department at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Dr Winston Moore, is suggesting that the National Union of Public Workers make no pay demand on Government although public sector workers have not had an increase for the past six years.

He is also of the opinion that a pay increase could only lead to two things – more layoffs in the Government service and/or an increase in levies.

However, I am of the opinion that the present Government always had options at its disposal that would have created a more optimistic climate for pay increments over the years and into the future.

(1) Whole or partial divestment in statutory entities such as the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, the National Housing Corporation (NHC), National Conservation Commission, Caves of Barbados Ltd and the Transport Board.

(2) Dissolution of the Urban and Rural Commissions with any developmental plans to be undertaken by a “divested” NHC.

(3) A combination of the job of Public Counsel with that of the Ombudsman.

4) The ambulance service managed by Defence Force personnel.

(5) A combination of the library service and the Audio Visual Aids department.

(6) Dissolution of Constituency Councils.

(7) Schoolchildren to pay bus fare at half-price.

(8) Dissolution of the Government Information Service, with each ministry responsible for its own public relations and information.

(9) A nominal fee to be deducted from senior citizens’ pensions to subsidise wages of home-help caregivers.

The above initiatives would certainly bring about greater efficiencies, increased productivity, less wastage, a reduction in Government allotments and expenses, leading to Government’s ability to pay wage increases.

If any economy is to thrive by way of a healthy cycle of economic activity, then there must be appropriate levels of disposable income and spending power.

Michael Ray


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