13 Jul 2007

Marshalls planner says public sector growth unsustainable

3:50 pm on 13 July 2007

The chief planner for the Marshall Islands government says the increase in the number of its employees is unsustainable in the country's current economic climate.

A report issued by the government shows that as of March 2007 the number of people working for it had increased by nearly 50 percent since 1999.

Carl Hacker says the public employee growth is partly attributable to adjustments under the new Compact of Free Association agreement with the US, particularly in health and education secors.

But he says the concern is that without economic growth that would lead to an increase in the tax base, it's putting a strain on the budget.

"This is on top of what happened up here in the 90s when we had a programme loan from the Asian Development Bank which took us down from about two thousand/twenty-one hundred positions down to just under fifteen hundred positions by 1999. Now it looks ike we're almost back to where we were twelve years ago."

Carl Hacker