Minister: Tonga Civil Servant Salaries To Be ‘Reviewed,’ Not ‘Investigated’

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Part of broader government-wide typcial review of salary structure

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Aug. 9, 2015) – The Tonga Government does not have an investigation project to find out if Tonga civil servants are considered unpaid, the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr ‘Aisake Eke said.

"There is no investigation, but a review of the salary structure," he said in a statement on August 7.

‘Aisake was responding to a report in Matangi Tonga on 6 August, that government’s Remuneration Authority was to investigate budgeted salaries allocations to find out if civil servants are underpaid or overpaid. The report Govt to investigate budgeted salaries allocation followed a story that was published by Radio New Zealand International on August 6. RNZI sourced its online story to Radio Tonga, quoting the Finance Minister, Dr ‘Aisake Eke that $2.2 million (USD) had been put aside for the exercise. When Matangi Tonga asked who was doing the investigation, a Ministry of Finance spokesperson had confirmed that it was the Remuneration Authority.

But the minister said on Friday that the Remuneration Authority has already completed a review of the salary structure for Parliament, Police and His Majesty’s Armed Forces, among others. "The remaining component is that of the civil servants," he stated.

‘Aisake told Matangi Tonga that he had no idea where the figure of $2.2 million (USD) came from. He did not say how much the ongoing review would cost.

"But what government has is the provision of $5 million pa’anga in the Budget for FY2015/16 to pay for the implementation of the new salary structure that the Remuneration Authority will recommend to Cabinet in October 2015."

Budget debate

Earlier, the Minister told Parliament during the budget debate that $5 million was set aside for a salary rise for civil servants members of parliament and the judiciary, which would take effect on July 1.

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