I agree with Mr. Daniels in his recently published letter that priority should be given to reducing expenditure before increasing taxes.
However it’s going to need a lot more than stopping garbage truck drivers from revving their engines.
Even before the crisis, almost all Government’s revenue went to meeting the payment of civil service salaries and associated benefits, which is why Government has always had to borrow for infrastructure projects.
The LOGB has recognised this but has only paid lip service to the problem. as his proposed salary reduction for civil servants was almost entirely offset by the increase in paid leave entitlement so that actual savings will not even amount to $1million.
For years civil servants bleated for pay parity with the private sector and when they got it, conveniently forgot that they also received free medical benefits and a very generous pension scheme. Unlike the private sector, a civil servant also seemingly has a job for life and automatic pay increases regardless of job performance.
Another factor detrimental to the Government purse is the large proportion of civil servants holding executive and management positions, a problem highlighted by none other than the head of the Civil Service Association.
Our present Government needs to bite the bullet and have an independent audit of the civil service to produce recommendations on where some meaningful savings can be made. It seems to me, firstly there should be some overall downsizing including a reduction in department heads and the other major issue is that civil servants should be required to pay for their own medical insurance like everyone else.
The problem of course facing this and previous governments is that the civil service has always been the sacred cow, as nobody has wanted to lose the votes of 4,000 civil servants plus all their voting dependants.
However, these are not ordinary times and if this country is to avoid bankruptcy then some very hard decisions have to be made in the national interest.
Roger M. Davies