We simply cannot afford it, Phillips tells public sector workers
The Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has declared that the Government will not be able to pay a higher wage offer to public sector workers than the amount it has proposed.
The Government has increased its wage offer from five per cent to seven per cent, but public sector workers say that’s not enough.
In an address to the nation tonight, Phillips said it would be reckless to borrow more money in order to offer higher wages to public sector worker.
"While we appreciate the demand for a higher rate of wage increases, at this time, we simply cannot afford it," Phillips said.
According to Phillips, last year, 31 cents out of every dollar went to paying public sector wages up from 21 cents out of the dollar in 2010.
Phillips’ address came hours after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that its Executive Board completed has the eighth review of Jamaica’s economic performance under a programme supported by a four-year Extended Fund Facility.
With the successful passing of the test, Jamaica will be able to draw down another US$39.8 million.
Meanwhile, Phillips said the debt payments has been reducing.
"The progress we have made is evident in the fact that whilst we were servicing the debt at 60 cents of the dollar in 2010, we are now using 42 cents of every dollar as at the end of the last fiscal year to service the debt. We are making progress. However, to meet our ultimate objective we must also reduce the share of the public sector wage bill," the minister added.