Over-budgeting or underpayment of public sector wage and pension increases

Introduction

In his presentation to the National Assembly of the 2011 Budget on January 17, Dr Ashni Singh announced that public assistance was then being paid at a rate of $4,900 per month to approximately 9,000 beneficiaries. He went on to announce a 12% increase to $5,500 per month from February 1. And in the same speech, he announced that “in like manner,” old age pensions then being paid at a rate of $6,600 per month to approximately 42,000 pensioners would be increased to a rate of $7,500 per month, a 14% increase. Even allowing for the word “approximately,” the information was specific enough to allow for a reasonable calculation of the total cost – inclusive of the announced increases – of $4,330 million, made up of Public Assistance of $590 million and Old Age Pension of $3,740 million.

But the 2011 Estimates themselves tell a very confusing story which could easily mislead readers. What is clear however is that a one-line item from page 21, Table 9 of the 2011 National Estimates accounts for the entire year‘s pensions cost – without the need for  …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.



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