Tue, Jan 11, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Cabinet mulling civil servant pay raise

‘A’ FOR ORIGINALITY:The president said Taiwan aimed to be a center for higher education in Asia and that it had achieved a ‘recovery with Taiwanese characteristics’

Staff writer, with CNA

The Cabinet is considering the possibility of raising the salaries of civil servants, Government Information Office Minister Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said yesterday.

Factors that must be taken into account before deciding whether to increase wages include economic growth in the fourth quarter of last year as well as tax revenue, trade and debt in the first two months of this year, he said.

There have been calls for the government to increase civil servants’ salaries after the economy grew 12 percent in the first three quarters of last year, with growth projected to reach a 23-year high of 9.98 percent for the full year.

Supporters of the proposal believe the move would encourage the private sector to follow suit.

While addressing the Commonwealth Economic Forum earlier in the day, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) promised that the government would not lay off employees this year and reiterated that the Cabinet was seriously considering raising their pay.

Following Ma’s announcement, the Presidential Office later said the president hoped the executive branch would conduct a thorough evaluation of such a possibility.

Presidential Office Spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said whether civil servants would get a pay raise this year would depend on the assessment conducted by the executive branch and that the president merely “reiterated the government’s position.”

“Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) is cautiously optimistic about such a possibility, but it will still depend on the overall economy and state finances,” Lo said.

The executive branch particularly needed to take into consideration the economic growth of the fourth quarter and the tax revenues collected this month and next month as well as import and export trade and government debt, Lo said.

Following the special municipality elections on Nov. 27 last year, in which the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost the popular vote by about 400,000 votes, some KMT legislators called on the Cabinet to ensure benefits for civil servants to make sure that the KMT retained its support base in that segment. Some attributed the party’s poor performance to disgruntled civil servants.

Ma also told the forum that Taiwan was aiming to be a driving force behind economic integration in the region and a hub of higher education in a new rising Asia, amid a change in the order of the global economy.

As one of the Asian countries that have experienced a rapid recovery from the global financial crisis, Taiwan has also achieved a “recovery with Taiwanese characteristics,” Ma said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KO SHU-LING

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