Salaries soar

Finance
Minister Dr Nigel Clarke on Tuesday sought to provide context in defence of the revised salary bands for legislators and other members of the political directorate, saying that annual adjustments have been made across the entire administrative leadership level of the public sector in order to attract and retain high-calibre leadership.

He also announced that telephone and housing allowances previously enjoyed by members of the political directorate will be discontinued.

“After years of macroeconomic stability, the path ahead will require that we are able to attract new blood into the leadership levels of the public sector to infuse new ways of thinking, new ideas for the organisation’s own growth and development,” he said.

“Persons need to be encouraged in making career moves into public leadership without putting their economic security at total risk,” Dr Clarke added.

The adjustments will see the prime minister’s salary move from the current $9.169 million as at 2021, to $22.332 million with effect April 1, 2022, then to $25.267 effective April 2023.

The deputy prime minister’s pay will move from the current $8.031 million as at April 2021, to $20.099 million effective April 2022, and $22.7 million with effect from April 2023, then increase to $25.729 million effective 2024.

Meanwhile, the finance minister’s salary is being bumped up from the current $7.440 million as at April 2021, to $19.206 million effective April 2022, then to $21.7 million effective April 2023, after which it will increase to $24.585 million effective April 2024.

The Opposition leader’s existing salary of $8.031 million will increase to $20.099 million effective April 2022, moving to $22.740 million effective April 2023, after which it will increase to $25.729 million effective April 2024.

Cabinet ministers will continue to earn $52.00 more than the maximum salary of permanent secretaries, moving from $6.893 million in 2021, to $17.866 million effective April 2022, and $20.214 million effective April 2023, then move to $22.87 million effective April 2024.

Permanent secretaries (level 15) salaries will go from $17.8 million, effective April 2022 to $20.214 million effective April 2023, then move to $22.870 million effective April 2024.

Meanwhile Members of Parliament will see their current salary of $4.331 million move to $11.077 million effective April 1, 2022, then to $12.532 million effective April 2023, then increase to $14.179 million with effect from April 1, 2024.

Providing a detailed historical context of salary movements for the political directorate, Clarke pointed out that the adjustments are based on the Sasso/Fletcher framework, which has been in effect over the past 37 years.

“While, over time, there have been squabbles and disunity over parliamentary salaries in this House, this framework has endured. We respect that endurance and therefore do not propose to change that framework. We propose to apply the existing framework for Cabinet ministers to the new restructured central government compensation scale,” he stated.

Increases are also in order for mayors and councillors. Pay for the mayors of Kingston and Montego Bay will move from the existing $3.8 million and $3.4 million, respectively, to $8.9 million and $8.1 million, respectively, effective April 2022. Those salaries will be increased to $10.1 million and $9.1 million, respectively, effective April 2023, then move to $11.4 million and $10.37 million effective April 2024.

Mayors of other parish capitals and Portmore will see their current salaries of $3.2 million increased to $7.7 million, effective April 2022, and $8.7 million for April 2023, then move to $9.89 million effective April 2024.

Dr Clarke lamented that it had not been possible to make adjustments for retried Members of Parliament who left the service prior to April 2022.

“We could no more adjust their level of financial flaws than we could for members of the public service who retired prior to April 2022. It’s a reality that breaks my heart, but those are our realities,” he said, pointing out that those adjustments would not have been affordable.

He said when the current members of the public service retire, they can benefit from stability of income over a long period of time.

“Let the pain that we feel for former colleagues and retired members of the public service urge us to action, to be responsible in our policy agitation,” he stated in response to questions from Opposition spokesman on finance Julian Robinson on indexing the pensions of those who retired prior to the adjustments to the new rates.

Robinson said the Opposition took no issue with the new rates, but urged the Government to urgently address the anomalies and discrepancies which still exist for civil servants since the new compensation regime came into effect last December.

The increases for the political directorate follow on the conclusion of the first phase of compensation restructuring for Government employees. Dr Clarke said that the ministry is working to finalise implementation for a small percentage of public bodies for which those arrangements have not yet been settled.