Low-paid govt workers may get salary boost

Economy August 05, 2014 01:00

By Suphannee Pootpisut
The Natio

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Finance Ministry, Comptroller-General to finalise plan

The Finance Ministry intends to complete discussions with the Comptroller-General’s Department this week in relation to the National Council for Peace and Order’s policy to raise the monthly salary of state officials who earn Bt9,000 or less.
Finance Ministry permanent secretary Rungson Sriworasat said that if the talks did conclude and the relevant law was amended to support the salary increase, it could be introduced in October.
He said the state budget was sufficient to accommodate the pay rise.
The 2015 fiscal budget is currently being determined and could be amended to serve the salary increase. If the law governing state salaries cannot be amended in time, the central budget could be used to support the plan.
Rungson said that when the salary of officials with a bachelor’s degree was raised to Bt15,000, it was not excessively expensive, costing Bt16 billion per year. Therefore, this pay rise is unlikely to require a considerable outlay.
State Enterprise Policy Office director-general Kulit Sombatsiri said that in general, the salaries of state-enterprise employees were considerably higher than those of government officials, but some were still low-paid. He questioned whether state-enterprise employees receiving low salaries should also get a pay rise if the salaries of state officials increased.
The NCPO had reportedly expressed its intention to improve the pay packets of state officials by 8 per cent across the board. They would also receive a higher allowance to ensure a better standard of living. 
Currently, state officials receive a Bt1,500 monthly allowance.
The government has 1.77 million officials, including 150,000 contract workers, which costs the state Bt345 billion a year in overheads. Of the amount, Bt50 billion is for the salaries of low-ranking officials.
“Although the last time the salary was increased by 6 per cent, it wasn’t able to cover the faster rise in the cost of living,” Manas Jamveha, director-general of the Comptroller-General’s Department, said yesterday.