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A pay raise for PM and ministers …

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… would appear to go against the grain the govt’s much vaunted austerity measures

Salary: Over three months after government announced to continue with the salary the previous prime minister and ministers collected, it has asked the pay commission to “review” pay scales for the posts.

Through a government order issued on November 13, government has asked the pay commission to “review recommendations of the first Parliament on revising pay scale for the prime minister and ministers”.

However, as a part of several austerity measures government adopted soon after taking office, to cut cost in the backdrop of deteriorating economic situation, government issued a press release, stating prime minister and ministers will “not adopt the new pay scales the previous government recommended”.

But the press release, issued on August 23, also stated “pay commission could review and suggest otherwise, if necessary, and recommend to the government later”.

Upon asking why government felt the need to review the pay scale, home minister Damcho Dorji said it was left for the pay commission to decide.

For now, the prime minister and ministers receive a salary of Nu 78,000 basic amount.

During the sixth session of the first Parliament in 2010, when a pay revision was carried out in all sectors, the pay commission had proposed a raise to Nu 180,000 for the prime minister and Nu 130,000 to other ministers.

However, the government then had “decided not to benefit from the raise”, and continue receiving within previous pay scale.

The first Parliament then left it up to the “next government” to propose new salary raise for the prime minister and ministers, when it took over.

Opposition leader Dr Pema Gyamtsho said it was a prerogative of the government to ask the pay commission to look into it.

He said, while it was alright for the pay commission to review and present it to the government, it was up to the government to present it to Parliament that will deliberate on it.

However, if a raise was being considered, opposition leader said there was question of affordability.

“On one hand, the government has been taking austerity measures and on the other hand, all the initiatives are counter productive to saving resources,” he said.

But is there really a need to revise pay scale for prime minister and minister?

National Council chairperson Dasho Sonam Kinga said to move towards a more equal society, income gap, which has been increasing over the years, should be narrowed.

“Important means of achieving this is to increase pay and allowances for people in lower income brackets, and make a more meaningful increment in the minimum wage,” he said. “Moreover, we need to work on controlling prices and rent escalation as alternatives.”

One possible argument for the raise that is afloat is that the ministers earn lesser than the rest of the Parliament members. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay was also reported to have made the statement.

Council’s deputy chairperson Tshering Dorji said that was not true in terms of both the basic amount and allowances.

“That way, I don’t think there’s pressure on them to increase their salary,” he said, adding he did not also see the need to revise, particularly in the context of country’s economic situation.

He said government was taking austerity measures, and had decided that they are not going to revise their salary.

“If at all they want to change that, they have to prove that economy is improving and doing much better,” he said. “Then there’s a basis for them to change the stand.”

However, he said, in such short span of time, it is evident that economy has not improved.

Other Parliament members preferring anonymity also said that ideas of cutting cost to address economic issues and then proposing salary revision at this time was contradictory.

Some, however, said, given the stature and responsibilities associated with the positions, prime minister and ministers should be paid “substantial” amount.

“There’s a possibility that they overdid it by announcing to not take the raise from day one, while we realise that those positions have to be made attractive,” one said.

Meanwhile, in drawing up recommendations, government has informed the pay commission that any raise should be to “attract, retain and motivate the best and brightest”.

Among others, they should consider fiscal position and economy of the country.

According to the Constitution, the recommendations of the commission will be implemented only upon approval of the Cabinet, and subject to conditions and modifications made by Parliament.

The pay commission has three months to come out with the recommendations starting November 13.

By Kesang Dema  | Thimphu

26 Comments to “A pay raise for PM and ministers …”
  1. zams | December 4th, 2013 at 20:04:11

    Hello PDP, You promised to raise the salary for the civil servant not for the

    PM and Ministries. PM and Ministries are having good salaries. We have
    voted your party thinking that you will serve with dedication but it seems
    you people are after money. By this time, you people should be spending more time on planning developmental activities rather than talking about the salaries for PM and Ministries. Your first preference should be given to developmental activities not your salaries.

    Please think over Dasho Sonam Kinga’s above points.

    Thank you Dasho Sonam Kinga for sharing your valuable views.

  2. franky | December 4th, 2013 at 19:13:40

    PDP promised not only pay raise but also housing allowance. now where is this housing allowance topic gone???? nothing has been mentioned about it???

  3. Jigdrel | December 4th, 2013 at 11:23:10

    The Govt. need to adopt card system for all the citizen along with their designation while going for any kinds of shopping and there need to introduce price structure for highly paid citizen to poor earners like below.
    for minister level 1 kg of potato = nu. 200/
    for secretary level 1 kg of potato = nu. 150/
    for director to officers level 1kg of potato = nu. 100/
    for grade 12 – 08 1kg of potato = 60/
    rest nu. 25 per kg
    this rate should be implemented for all kinds of subsidies

  4. khenchen | December 3rd, 2013 at 22:06:48

    I agree but totally disagree to some extend if I am not mistaken being the son of Bhutan.Why we all are after pay revision increasing allowances and other benefits ? I think we must thank for the government because government had given us education and after education given different post with pay.Instead of pay revision,if we use that money for the welfare of public like road connection,supply of electricity and other developmental activities reaching far and near is our pay revision for all of us from ESP staff level to Ministerial level. As John Kennedy rightly pointed out that don’t ask what country can do for you ,ask what we can do for the country? Now is right time for us to think for the country development not for our purse filling up mosh la. Our desires and wants are unlimited and because of that we fails to achieve our happiness.I think GNH must not create by the government but we,ourselves must create GNH.Even after raising pay,how many of us were meeting the price of pay revision from our services.I think with our lip service talks that we are serving Tsa-wa-sum but in reality every one of us were serving to fill up our empty stomach.I think we must have some limitation of our desire and work for the benefit of our nationhood people not for purse filling purposes. But I always pray to have more pay revision to lower income group either limpsum or more percentage of increase. But government should not forget to recruit dedicated and committed staff in any organisation who selflessly work for the public welfare.Please don’t blame to anyone but blame ourselves whether we are fulling our service with present earbibgs la..Wish all the best ….

  5. ssb | December 3rd, 2013 at 15:11:12

    Great PDP jokers, didn’t say that PM and Ministers shall have pay revision during their campaign before the election. Pay revision and house rent allowance will be given to civil servant. votes are given and these many jokers came to power now. Now all the things are opposite. If this is the case i think they are not capable, may resign from the power.

    if there is pay revision for civil servant, be it in form of lumsum amount not in percentage.

  6. 12look | December 3rd, 2013 at 13:00:30

    what the hell yah….every leading leader is a liar..they lie so much and exchange our faith with their lies..when they were forming a party and giving a bundles of lies we have never asked them to raise our salary or left the loan of cars…they promised all those stuffs and lies..if they think is not possible than they should not alarm it..and the repercussion we are facing is raising of house rent and cost of grocery item and vegetables….even they raised the electricity..now whom to trust and blame..PDP or DPT or other parties…

    if they cant raise the pay..they better create awareness on lowering every cost before people get drunk and mad with there lies…i think it will be uncontrollable…..If we look at the salary count down of lower officers .. they get 12000 per month..and 6000 is gone for house rent…2000 gone for a monthly expenditure for a bachelors group…and 1000 for TV bill and other supply applications like water and all.. and 3000 is left..and again donation and SEMSO in the office when misfortune happens..and see how much is left…what we aill save and what we will take..PM and Ministers and Mps salary are our four month sallry…again percent increase will double the salary of theres…so where is GNH and equality..
    i dont know hoy they aspect corruption level to be zero when government officials are underpaid and every party raise a alarm on increasing salary where repercussions are created on the Shops and house owners..we request to stop creating awareness to the House owners and shop owners…Even taxi drivers….getting really mad and demoralizing by the People around yah..do some thing which you can… when people wearing kabney and pata are victim of Corruption how will you aspect lower officials who eats 30 -60 thousand as a victim of corruption…who are actually paid less and doing more work…

  7. joker | December 2nd, 2013 at 19:14:18

    There is a Bhutanese saying, “we trust the cave, but the cave is empty.” We trusted this government, but it betrays us. These people were firstly power-hungry and now money-crazy.

  8. arie_namgay | December 2nd, 2013 at 16:19:57

    For all the publicity that Mr T. Tobgay craves, He returned his prado and initiated many cost cutting measures. now, a pay revision for bigot PM and Ministers; Simply a paradox. Bhutanese now should point the finger of blame for at each other for electing such a ridiculous party to govern for the next 5 years.
    The reality Bhutanese will face is Mr T.Tobay and Co, some of the oligarchs of Bhutan is going to get richie-riche. Wake Up PDP… the recent events in the midde east, the current political events in BKK and the dirty politic in your big brother country will have some influence in the hearts of Bhutanese to point finger at U. PERIOD

  9. kharang-2 | December 2nd, 2013 at 14:17:20

    Good sound by returning Prado but demanding for revision of Pay & salary hike for Prime Minister and Minister does not sound well. This Government is pressurizing the pay commission to work out hopping that the more benefit will be for them in case the pay revision is made in percentage. Is there any for the Corporation and Private staff. The PDP Government had found only removing of Pool Vehicles as resource for revision of Civil Servant’s Pay & allowances. But I feel that their brain are fully exhausted on pay revision before starting the development works of the 11th Plans.

  10. Esoteric | December 2nd, 2013 at 13:47:06

    That’s how he keep up with his Order of Austerity Measures. Is there a need for us to follow his Order then? People tend to become deaf and blind once he or she comes to Power. It is only His Majesty the Kings who are always there for us to save from being drowned in the mess of Politics. Long Live our Beloved Kings.

  11. labshey | December 2nd, 2013 at 10:22:39

    Whatz happening to “kha da lab ta thuen?”. I have some concern for the nation regarding civil servants, which Both RCSC and the government should be aware of. We r loosing many capable civil servants. Opting “greener pastures”. Shouldn’t you be concerned?

  12. voiceofnation | December 2nd, 2013 at 10:07:48

    Even now i regret that i have supported PDP thinking that they are the true upholder on national interest but now just after assuming for last 3 months, they are proving wrong.
    Now i think i have made a great mistake voting them. They are going to ruin the nation within this 5 years.
    But ya in 2018, I am going to analyze alot and vote accordingly.

  13. soilson | December 2nd, 2013 at 10:04:29

    The present cabinet won the election mainly due to realization of country’s economy.It is only three months that parliament formed and economy is still not recovered to normal.How they dare to speak of their own pay revision? Shameful policy is being implemented.For civil servants I do fully agree with other authors.

  14. fairytale | December 2nd, 2013 at 09:26:54

    Looking at the article ” Pay rise for PM & Ministers” gives wrong message to the public that instead of prioritizing pay rise for the civil servants, the pay rise for the cabinets are given the first priority. The govt must keep in mind on the aspects of their recent deliberations on austerity measures and the worsen economic situation of the country. The govt says its upto the Pay Commission , the question here is Who formed the Pay Commission? The answer is by the govt, not by the public. The pay commission has no choice but to recommend increase after all it is PUPPET SHOW GAME.

    The current govt is biting their own fingers. We recommend not to bite their own fingers as they have long way to go in governing the people and the country.

    Thanks

  15. Roww Phangthoe | December 2nd, 2013 at 09:14:00

    I really don’t think that there is a need for raising the salaries of PM & Ministries looking at the current economic situation of our country. rather it would be better to revise the pay of civil servants which is long due.

  16. ptashik | December 2nd, 2013 at 07:21:03

    Does it show any Equality & Justice on the part of nation & the struggling people at the ground level, instead just favoring the highly paid officials only.

  17. Voice | December 1st, 2013 at 21:58:59

    So much for all the drama of returning prado Mr. PM. I thought you will reduce salary for PM and ministers since you proclaim to be worried about economic situation. But now that you have power, you have asked pay commission to revise your pay also. Pay commisison is only a puppet for yours. We all know that.

    Civil service pay which is long due and something both dpt and pdp has promised is now being compromised. Atleast dpt kept their promises eg. road connection to all gewogs, electricity for all and mobile connection etc. ,

    The amount you are going to raise can be given for poorer civil servants who are mostly urban dweller. The civil servant earning Nu. 4000 and your Nu. 78,000 are paying same price for kg of rice and potato. Yet you want to increase your own pay. Shame on you. I am ashamed of calling you our PM. The costliest mistake Bhutan made was to elect pdp for the government. Bhutan will surely suffer for next 5 years. Keep dancing on our money. Hope you have good time.

  18. whistleblower | December 1st, 2013 at 15:33:24

    I am convinced that politicians can stoop so low to realize their personal goals…..any Govt in future will try to make the electorates happy with wild promises as if they are going to deliver it in real….You just have to give them chance to prove it….then LOL…….they will talk with out feeling ashamed of what they had been talking about in the campaign……it is like they don’t know anything about the economic situation of the country before the election…so the tall promises……Once into the office……promises seem to disappear with excuses like “Gyalkhab gi neytang tagopey”…..were they unaware before the election? if so….why Promise?…..Any Party that will come and go will follow the trend……But voters are the lynchpin of Democracy…………Do NOT LIE……PROMISE WHAT YOU CAN…….

  19. jala | December 1st, 2013 at 12:11:32

    There is no evidence that present pay and other benefits is keeping good people away from politics. It is just illogical reasoning to support their argument by those with vested interest. At this juncture any rationale citizens should be more concerned with widening income gap between those who have and have not. Equitable and just society is what every Bhutanese needs to strive for- my two cents!!!

  20. Optimistic25 | December 1st, 2013 at 12:11:02

    It’s a lot for those who already have a lot… wat about the lower income group… r they going 2 suffer 4 eternity.

  21. hardcore | December 1st, 2013 at 09:31:35

    Acho T.T…. keep on fooling the people…..hats off to you…

  22. pemad | November 30th, 2013 at 18:56:06

    Great idea, we should also take up this transformation as a CDM project to benefit from the Carbon Credit.

  23. sangyang | November 30th, 2013 at 15:24:47

    Pay revison must be in Lump Sum of Nu.5000 and must applies from ESP staff to minsiters level….
    For example……Old salary Revision New Salary
    1)ESP staff salary Nu.5000/ Nu.5000/ 10,000/
    2.Ministers salary…………….Nu.78000/ Nu.5000/ 83,000/

    Status and post will be maintain by the old salary

    Pay commission if you think of DRANGYEM and DRANGDHEN in GNH country revision should be as stated above……..But no way out in Bhutan mo..la

  24. sangyang | November 30th, 2013 at 15:03:47

    Everybody in the kingdom need of money and everybody deserve pay revision.So,Pay commission need not take extra headache by calculating some percentages.Instead commission can decide and revise Nu.5000 lump sum from Natinal work force to Prime Minister’s level.Because we are in land of GNH and common dialogue “DRANGYEM and DRANGDHEN”.If we think of excutives level of revision,then there will be big finance implication.
    If we revise lump sum lowest level revision will be 4500+5000=9500 and highest level would be 78000+5000=83000/
    What do you say pay commission? If you are really son of GNH you should know the fact and pain of ESP staff and National work force…………….If revision is based on the percentage…think of person receiving Nu.78000 a month and the person receiving Nu.4500 a month……………….Need to give second thought……………….

  25. myviews | November 30th, 2013 at 14:51:13

    its so disheartening to know again that the cabinet and prime ministers pays are going to be revised when they are enjoying already the huge sums from government treasure, if this still happens that we have voted for wrong party and we should be very cautious while voting next time
    Again, when it comes to local government leader pay rise and their claims for equal pay rise like of MPs , it sounds very hilarious because firstly, they are apolitical bodies same as civil servant and secondly, they don’t possess a degree qualification and thirdly, they live in their home where the expenditure for rent are not required and further their work are just to sign on the letter that are drafted by Geog Administrative Officer and order
    GAO and other extension Officers for necessary help and measures
    So, i feel revising pay for civil servants has become very important knowing the hardship they are facing out of inflation ,
    Lastly, the pay commsision should think of coming up with lump sum resion rather than percentage system as this allow maxium increase for the better post holder and less for lesser income group.examlple, if the revsion is 5000 then all should be etitled same irrespective ofdesignation.
    a small suggestion from concerned citizen.

  26. Mr. Loyal | November 30th, 2013 at 14:47:22

    Wow! pay revision for Prime minister and ministers? What a joke? There is an sky and earth’s difference between Nu.78,000 and Nu.4,000 though the earners are both Bhutanese and living with same ongoing inflation.

    What about the raise for civil servants? Is it to implement only after the raise for PM and minister? Please do not mingle up ministers and civil servants in terms of pay revision.

    The present government have promised for civil servant’s pay revision. I don’t think that pay commission have done the same for the Prime minister and ministers. (To revise pay if PDP/DPT won).

    If their pay is revised, the lower income brackets will have less amount in revision which is difficult to meet the inflation and the living standard. Dasho Sonam Kunga has rightly said. Hats off Dasho SK.

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