Massive salary hike for POLITICAL DIRECTORATE
THE POLITICAL directorate has raked in huge salary increases, with compensation to members of parliament (MPs) and Cabinet ministers surging past 200 per cent.
Members of the legislature sat and listened intently yesterday as Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke announced the massive salary hikes in a statement to the House of Representatives.
For the finance minister, his salary has moved up by 232 per cent from $7.4 million in 2021 to $24.6 million as at April 1, 2024. The finance minister is now receiving $21.7 million effective April 1, 2023.
Cabinet ministers have received a 230 per cent increase in salary up to April 1, 2024 with their pay moving from $6.9 million in 2021 to $22.9 million next year. As of April 1, 2023, Cabinet ministers will take home an annual salary of $20.2 million.
The prime minister’s salary jumps by 214 per cent, with his pay moving from $9.1 million in 2021 to $28.6 million on April 1, 2024. Effective April 1, 2023, the head of government will get $25.3 million annually.
The increases form part of the new rates under the public sector compensation system announced by Clarke.
The deputy prime minister’s salary has also surged by 221 per cent, moving from a little over $8 million in 2021 to $25.7 million effective April 1, 2024. As of April 1, 2023, the deputy prime minister is being paid $22.7 million per year.
The leader of the opposition has received a similar increase to that of the deputy prime minister.
With a 230 per cent increase in salary from April 2021 to a similar period in 2024, MPs’ take-home pay will move from $4.3 million to $14.2 million per year. Effective April 1, 2023, MPs will receive $12.5 million each year.
Clarke told his parliamentary colleagues that previous allowances paid to members of the political directorate, including housing and telephone allowance, will be discontinued effective April 1, 2022.
The salaries of mayors have also been hiked, with the mayor of Kingston’s pay increasing from $3.8 million in 2021 to $11.4 million as at April 1, 2024. This represents a 200 per cent increase. On April 1, 2023 his salary moved up to $10.1 million.
The mayor of Montego Bay’s salary has jumped by 205 per cent moving from $3.4 million in 2021 to $10.4 million as at April 1, 2024. His current pay effective April 1, 2023 is $9.2 million annually.
Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Julian Robinson, did not raise any objections to Clarke’s announcement. Clarke said that he took that to mean that Robinson supports the salary adjustments.
Clarke said that the Government has not changed the framework used to calculate pay for the political directorate over the last three decades.
The finance minister said that elements of the framework of the Ronald Sasso Committee of 1981 and the Douglas Fletcher Committee of 1989 have been used in determining the salaries of the political directorate.
In the Fletcher’s report it was recommended that the formula which sets the salary of the Cabinet minister at $52.00 per annum above that of a permanent secretary should be retained.
“We propose to apply the existing framework for Cabinet ministers to the new restructured central government compensation scale,” he said.
Under this framework, the prime minister should be paid 25 per cent higher than Cabinet ministers. The deputy prime minister receives a salary 12.5 per cent higher than Cabinet ministers and the minister of finance gets 7.5 per cent higher than Cabinet ministers. It also states that the Cabinet minister is to be paid $52 higher than the maximum of the permanent secretary’s salary scale.
The salary adjustments to the political directorate at the local and national levels will cost taxpayers $1.7 billion for the three fiscal years.
The finance minister said that the Government has sought to establish a simplified, transparent and market informed public sector compensation system that can attract and retain talent needed to run the public bureaucracy.
“It was bold of the Government to undertake this reform and it is bold to propose these changes now. We believe this to be in the best interest of Jamaica. It is not about who occupies these positions today, it is about the quality Jamaica will be able to attract and retain in positions of political leadership, at all levels, tomorrow and beyond,” said Clarke.
Clarke said he hoped more qualified and experienced Jamaicans would find it attractive and financially feasible to offer themselves to serve their country through the administrative public service or through the political directorate.