Promises of pay increases by the government of Kosovo and IMF’s monitoring role

Promises of pay increases by the government of Kosovo and IMF’s monitoring role

The government of Kosovo has pledged that there will be a pay rise for 2014, but it hasn’t specified the percentage. But, these dilemmas have been made clear by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), opposition and civil society, which have stressed that pay increases this year will not be more than 14%

Pristina, February 21, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

The government of Kosovo is not revealing the percentage of pay increases for public servants, but according to the calculations based on the allocated fund, which amounts to 27 million Euros, pay increases are expected to be around 14%. The government has allocated 27 million Euros. This was said by representatives of the opposition.

Meanwhile, the Office for Public Communication of the Ministry of Finance said that the decision on the percentage of increase will be taken by the government of Kosovo in one of its next meetings.

“The government will decide on the percentage increase. Public servants will benefit from this decision. The 2014 state budget has also allocated a fund for pay increases. For this, minister Besim Beqaj has declared many times during and after the drafting of the 2014 budget that an agreement has been reached with the International Monetary Fund”, states the reply issued by this office.

IMF monitors pay increases

At the conclusion of their mission in December of last year, IMF officials had declared that pay increases could not exceed 14%.

IMF representatives in Pristina, Jose Sulemane has declared that there are no details on the latest government decision.

“The guideline for us is what we’ve agreed on with the government during the discussions in the last mission, a report which has also been approved by IMF Board in December 2013. This report includes the evaluations of the staff of IMF and the letter of good intent which is a letter harmonized with the 2014 budget, which also complies with fiscal rules approved in the Parliament of Kosovo”, said Sulemane.

“As far as the government decision for the increase of salaries is concerned, we have no details over this decision. So far we’ve been closely monitoring this issue. Once we know more, we will issue our explanations as far as the implications relating to the policies are concerned”, added the IMF representative.

Opposition: Salaries cannot increase more than 14%

Member of the parliamentary committee for the budget and finance of LDK, Hykmete Bajrami, says that the decision of the government is expected, because a fund has been allocated from the 2014 budget.

“It’s a fund of 45 million Euros, whereof 18 million will be spent on the reform in public administration and the rest for the increase of salaries”, said Bajrami.

According to her, based on the calculations and talks held with IMF, pay increases cannot exceed 14%.

Civil society: These increases are electoral increases

Meanwhile, representatives of civil society say that this is an electoral increase.

Agron Demi from GAP Institute says that the increase of salaries should have been made at the start of this year. According to GAP’s calculations, pay increases cannot exceed 9%.

“We have objected it, because we have said that if there is to be an increase, then it should be made at the start of the year and not ahead of the electoral campaign. Thus, the scenario is the same as in 2010, when the government decided to increase payments”, said Agron Demi from GAP Institute.

Agim Demukaj, expert from the World bank says that government of Kosovo only has money for a small increase in salaries.

“I don’t want to discuss about the time of the decision and implementation of the agreement, but I must stress that it’s important to know how much will the pay increase be, bearing in mind that the budget has allocated a significant amount for the implementation of the reform in the public administration, incorporation of Serb structures in the north of Kosovo and a small part for pay increases”. /ibna/