24 Sep 2007

Call for reduction in Marshall Islands public servant numbers

8:13 pm on 24 September 2007

The Marshall Islands ministry of finance says the government must reduce the number of public servants gradually to become more sustainable.

The government has approved a 123 million US dollars budget, with 70 percent of its revenue depending on aid from the United States and Taiwan, while only four million is generated locally.

Half of Taiwan's aid of 5 point 5 million US dollars will go towards the salaries of government employees, whose numbers have doubled in the last decade.

The secretary at the ministry of finance, Jefferson Barton, says he is very concerned about the funding distribution.

"Government has been pumping too much money into these areas, but the private sector needs to be developed to pay for all. Government can't continue to just pump money into these sectors. That is not sustainable, in other words, they are not competitive that way."

Jefferson Barton says education is receiving 31 million US dollars in funding, while health is next with almost 22 million US dollars.