By Muluken Yewondwossen, Capital Ethiopia
The government has significantly raised the salaries of civil servants and the topic has excited the nation, even though the amount of the increases has not officially been disclosed. However, according to a document Capital obtained, the salary of government employees is doubled. Workers at the bottom of the pay scale will see their salary grow by 129 percent, while others with higher salaries have also gotten about a 76 percent raise.
Civil servants have secured a very impressive and unprecedented salary increment. Three weeks ago Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn disclosed that the government will increase salaries of state employees as of this month (the beginning of the budget year). The exact sum has not officially been confirmed. Sources close to the issue told Capital that the amount the government added is significant and as high as 129 percent.
According to the new salary rate, the minimum starting salary has been raised to 1,031 birr from 450 birr and the ceiling amount has reached 11,713 birr, for professionals.
Experts indicated that the minimum salary for sub professionals’ that previously stood at 450 birr, has now grown to 1,031 birr, which is a 129 percent increase.
The starting salary for professionals and scientific or fresh graduates that was 1,499 birr has now risen to 2,649 birr, which is about a 76 percent increase.
The previous maximum basic salary for professional and scientific recruits was 4,343 birr and now it has been raised to 7, 815 birr, which is also about a 76 percent rise.
According to the new salary scale that Capital obtained the minimum salary increase is not lower than 76 percent, even though the percentages vary on different levels.
Civil servants, who were earning the lower amounts, have secured the biggest raise.
Experts said that the percentage of the new pay raise is much higher than in the past.
Four years ago the government raised salaries for civil servants and then after that it also increased pay for teachers.
When the PM announced the salary hike during the Civil Service Day Celebration held at the African Union Conference Hall on June 23, he said that the government decided to increase its employees’ pay starting from the first month of the budget year (July 8, 2014) aiming to inspire them to engage in the nation’s development.
“It is intended to improve the working atmosphere as well as the living conditions of civil servants,” Hailemariam said.
“The increase will be made with consideration to the government’s financial capacity, in a way that avoids awakening inflation or disturbing the stability of the economy,” Hailemariam added.
He said that the increase was approved about a year ago, but the government suspended it with the intention of seeing the trend of the inflation remain in single digits.
Even though there are not accurate statistics, the number of civil servants in the country is believed to be about 1.3 million.
Since the government disclosed the salary increase three weeks ago price hikes and new tariffs are being observed in some market places. Some experts say that the inflation may return, but the government is dismissing fears of price hikes. It also stated that price hikes and inflation would not be seen in relation with the salary increase.
Some of the government bodies also stated they would take legal action against traders who impose artificial price hikes on the public. Early this week the Trade Competition and Consumers’ Protection Authority announced that consumers are informing the authority about price increases related to the pay raise of civil servants. In a statement that the authority sent to Capital it reiterated that it will take legal measures against the traders who apply price hikes without any economic reason. The authority also advised the public to inform them by calling a 8478 toll free line when they perceive that price hikes are occurring.
Due to fears of artificial price hikes the newly organized wholesale public enterprise, Alle, has disclosed that it will terminate the contract of retail traders if they sell consumer products at high rates.
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