Public servants’ salary adjustment in budget
The first three phases of the cost of living salary adjustment (C.O.L.A.) for all public servants — to start in their first salary in January 2019 — is included in a $19.4 million Supplementary Budget tabled in Parliament this week.
Minister of Finance Sili Epa Tuioti told the House that the Government’s intent, to ensure that the balance between the competing priorities of Government, and the provision of essential services for the citizens of Samoa is maintained.
“In doing so, I am pleased to announce that all additional expenses under the supplementary budget presented before the House, is fully funded from additional resources and the reallocation of current savings, and therefore maintains the fiscal deficit estimated for the current financial year.”
Sili advised that the First Supplementary Estimates laid before Parliament, includes the first of three phases to implement of the C.O.L.A. for all public servants to commence in the first pay of January 2019. Also commencing in January 2019 is an increase in the pension for senior citizens of the country from $135 to $145 a month.
“The implementation of the C.O.L.A. will begin with a 5 per cent increase for all personnel from Principals and below and a 3 per cent increase for all ACEO positions up to below CEOs.
“In January 2020, all Principals to below CEOs will get another 3 per cent increase while a 3 per cent increase will be introduced for CEOs, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and members of the Judiciary.
“In January 2021, all public servants including members of Parliament will receive a final pay increase of 2 per cent to complete the implementation of the 2019 COLA.”
The decision for the COLA comes in light of the increasing cost of living since the last COLA of 2014 which has eroded the purchasing power of citizens and therefore, in choosing the right path, the Government of Samoa has reshuffled many of its developments to be staggered into forward years so that the COLA is prioritized.
According to the Minister the overall additional expenditures in the First Supplementary Estimates for 2018-2019 totals $19.4million and includes $2.1million in development project initiatives received from development partners, following the approval of the Main Estimates in June 2018 — these finances will go directly to projects as per the Memorandums of Understanding with these organisations.
“The remaining $17.3million in additional current payments will be financed by the new and additional revenues of $11.3million and the reallocation of existing budget resources totaling $5.97million,” said Sili.
Minister of Finance stated the Supplementary Budget before the House is a product of careful consideration to ensure macroeconomic stability is maintained and at the same time Government is in a position to deliver the services demanded by the public.
“Government will continue to ensure quality spending and prudent allocation of resources so we can deliver on an improved quality of life for everyone.”
See page 14 for the Budget Appropriation.