12 Jul 2004

Pay rises for top public servants in Tonga condemned

7:06 pm on 12 July 2004

Tonga's leading pro-democracy MP,Akilisi Pohiva, has condemned a government proposal to give top civil servants a 68 percent pay rise.

The salary review, carried out by Police Minister Clive Edwards, will give all heads of department the increase, but all other public servants will get only 5 percent.

Mr Pohiva says the proposal has prompted discontent within the country's public service.

"the demand for pay rise is there, as the inflation rate since the last salary rise had gone far beyond the market value. So it's only the head of department who is better off. The rest of the civil servants are worse off."

Mr Pohiva says the government should improve the salaries of the civil servants in the middle and bottom so they can catch up with the inflation rate.

And he's doubtful the country has the money to pay for the pay hike given its poor economic performance.