The Georgetown municipality is seeking to clear its debts with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the city credit union.
Town Clerk Royston King told a press conference on Friday that while all members of staff have been paid for December, City Hall has not been able to cover all their deductions, particularly those for the NIS, GRA and the credit union.
“We are working to bring that up to scratch,” he stressed before calling on acting Treasurer John Douglas, who explained that staff were paid by December 22nd and pensioners have also been paid since then.
Douglas noted that he had earlier that morning consulted with the credit union on mapping a way forward for its payments.
“We will be calling in NIS and GRA to have a discussion. Hopefully out of that discussion, we can go on a payment plan because as you know council’s problems most times is with cash flow. With that problem, we see it fit to have these monies diluted bit by bit by a payment plan,” he said.
Douglas claimed not to be sure of the sum owed to these entities or of the exact period for which they have not been paid. However, he stated that on average they have not been paid for about nine months.
King, meanwhile, stressed that though there are delays in the payment of council workers, “they are always paid and paid well.”
Additionally, he noted that despite delays in payment, the council does not have a high turnover in staff and has of January 1, actually provided workers with an 8% increase in their salaries. This increase is in keeping with a multi-year agreement signed between the city and the union,” he explained.
While thanking the workers for their loyalty, the Town Clerk stopped short of committing to on time payments for the entirety of the 2018. He stated instead that council would try its best “to ensure that all workers are paid on time.”
Asked if he believed that the 8% increase is sustainable in light of council’s “cash flow” problems, King explained that the negotiated increase hinged on anticipated revenue coming from projects such as metered parking and cannot be reversed now that the agreement has been signed and implemented for the year.