Govt pledges prompt payment of civil servants' salaries
Prime Minister ThonglounSisoulith has told the departments responsible to ensure that civil servants' salaries are paid on time each month in 2017 in a determined bid to end the chronic issue of late payments.
He made the statement at a two-day meeting last week that was convened to give instructions on the implementation of the socio-economic development plan and budget for 2017.
With 2017 fast approaching, the premier called on the Ministry of Finance, central bank and provincial authorities to work with the relevant departments to pay all outstanding salaries by the end of 2016 after learning that officials in some districts had not been paid for three consecutive months.
“It [the payment] should be made not later than New Year. They [officials] should receive their salary by December 31 so they can enjoy their holiday and relax,” he told the meeting.
Mr Thongloun told the more than 500 officials, comprising cabinet members and officials from central and local departments, to be prepared and ensure that salaries are paid every month in 2017.
“We can't just assume that it doesn't matter if their salary payment [on time]..... is prolonged for months and they [officials] don't resign. It's wrong. It is our moral duty as administrators. It is their legitimate right [to receive their salary promptly],” the prime minister said.
He said that salaries were already only a small sum of money, which civil servants rely on.
Since taking office in April, the government has repeated several times its commitment to ensure that salaries are paid on time.
Mr Thongloun told last week's meeting that the government cabinet had reached consensus on ensuring the timely payment of salaries.
Many officials have said that they struggle when their salaries are paid late as it means they have to obtain money from other sources to pay their monthly electricity and water bills, their children's school fees and other expenses.
In recognition of the rising cost of living, the government has announced it will increase civil servants' salaries by 500 kip per salary index, to come into effect in January.
But there is a strong concern that living costs, especially food prices, will also increase and if this is the case the salary hike will be meaningless.
The government is aware of this issue and has asked the relevant sectors to keep a close eye on prices in markets and make sure there are no unreasonable increases.
(Latest Update December 26, 2016)