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Good news awaits govt employees in election-year budget

News Desk Worker 2023-05-24, 4:45pm

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All government employees are going to get good news in the budget of the next fiscal year 2023-24.



All government employees are going to get good news in the budget of the next fiscal year 2023-24. Announcement for increment may come for them in the form of dearness allowance. The government employees will get an additional increment beyond the regular 5 percent annual increment to deal with the ongoing inflation. Amount of the dearness allowance can be 10 to 20 percent of the basic salary.

According to finance ministry sources, a proposal is sought from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Ministry of Finance on what steps can be taken to provide some relief to the government employees. At the same time, the government policy-makers also discussed this issue in various meetings relating to budget.

The Ministry of Finance made a proposal for the special allowance in the budget for the fiscal 2023-24 considering the high price of essentials due to the ongoing inflation and later placed it to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The finance minister and planning minister put forward their opinions on the issue to the Prime Minister during a meeting held at Ganabhaban a week ago.

In that meeting, the Prime Minister ordered to estimate the additional cost if the dearness allowance is provided to the government employees and present it in the next meeting. Later, the Premier decided to increase the increment.

Separate committee will be formed after placing the budget proposal in the parliament and the committee will recommend the required percentage of increment dealing with the inflation, the sources said.

An official at the Ministry of Finance said, “This budget is the last budget of the third consecutive term of the Awami League government. So, this budget can be regarded as election budget. In this budget, the government employees will get some new facilities including an increase in the salary after eight years.”

“Increment will be announced in the form of dearness allowance. An additional increment of 15 to 20 percent beyond the regular 5 percent annual increment will be provided to the government employees,” he said.

Officials of the Finance Division directly involved with budget preparation, said there will not be a new pay scale. This will be an election-year budget and the last in the current government’s tenure.

Government employees have long been expecting a new pay scale in the upcoming budget but the prime minister dismissed the idea, ministry officials said. The premier directed officials concerned to focus on macroeconomic stability in the next budget.

In the current fiscal year, the government has saved expenses in various sectors, including Tk1,093 crore from the salaries and allowances of government employees.

In the revised budget of FY23, the total allocation for salaries and allowances was Tk73,173 crore. But the Finance Division has slightly raised the estimation to Tk77,000 crore for the coming fiscal year.

Usually, the government announces a new pay scale every five years. After implementing the seventh pay scale in 2009, the government implemented a new pay scale in July 2015, raising the salary by almost 100%. Since then, the employees are getting a 5% increment in July every year.

Eight years have passed since the last scale was implemented and various organisations of government employees are demanding a fresh pay scale, citing the soaring prices of daily commodities due to the Ukraine-Russia war.

According to the latest data from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the inflation rate in March this year was 9.33% and the year-on-year average inflation rate was 8.39%.

The inflation target for FY24 has been estimated at 6%, which was 5.6% in the current fiscal year’s main budget.

According to the Ministry of Public Administration data, there are about 14 lakh government employees in the country. However, this number stands at about 22 lakh if military-civilian officials and employees and MPO-listed teachers are included.

In this regard, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that the government is not going to implement dearness allowance. But the salary will be increased following another strategy. Dearness allowance, as it was considered in our region, will not be done. To alleviate the effect of price hike in the essential commodities or inflation, some money will be paid directly to government employees, who are in the bureaucracy.

Dr. Ahsan H Mansur, Executive Director of Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI), said that salary and allowance are the only income source of most of the government officials. It is difficult for the government to increase the expenses like providing a fresh pay scale in the current situation as daily essential commodities have witnessed an increase in their prices due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict. It will not cause a big pressure on the government if the increment is given.