8 Sep 2005

Marshalls warned of unsustainable public service payroll

4:11 pm on 8 September 2005

The Marshall Islands Minister of Finance has warned that soaring government employment is reaching unsustainable levels and needs to be controlled.

Last year, the government payroll increased to 30 million US dollars compared to 1999, when the salaries of government workers totalled only 19 million dollars.

In the late-1990s, the Marshall Islands cut back its government workforce by nearly one-third as U.S. grant funding fell and economic conditions declined.

But, since 1999, government employment has been steadily increasing.

The Finance Minister, Brenson Wase, questions the sustainability of a government payroll, which now amounts to more than 25 percent of last year's 116 million dollar budget.

He says the government is going to carry out a "personnel audit" to verify positions, salaries and attendance of government workers in order to better control staffing levels.