13 Dec 2006

COLA payment for Fiji public servants but reserve soldiers still unpaid

11:22 am on 13 December 2006

Public servants in Fiji are to receive a two-percent pay increase on Friday while the military has revealed that its reserve force soldiers have not been paid for three weeks.

The two-percent pay Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA, was among a range of pay increases costing a total of 145-million US dollars agreed to by the SDL government before the general elections in May this year.

The army has approved that the planned increase go ahead.

Public servants had already received another two percent increase last October and four percent for last year.

But the military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, has revealed that more than 1,000 territorial force soldiers called up for duty have not been paid for three weeks.

The Fiji Sun says he has blamed the non-attendance of government Information Technology staff at work for the soldiers being without pay.

Major Leweni says military accountants are now processing the soldiers pay.

The military has sacked the head of the government's IT services, Sailasa Taganesia, for reportedly complying with an order from the sacked finance chief executive to shut down all IT services, effectively crippling government services and arms.