Ministers approve pay plan

  • 2007-11-13
  • In cooperation with BNS
RIGA -- The Latvian government has endorsed measures designed to give modest pay rises to ministers and parliamentarysecretaries.

Under the draft provisions, the salaries of governmentministers and parliamentary secretaries will be tied to the average wage ofpublic sector workers, and calculated by using a special coefficient.

The salaries of ministers and parliamentary secretarieswill not be frozen, but will be revised annually following an official reportby the Central Statistics Office.

Under the proposed amendments, the next revision ofministers and parliamentary secretaries' salaries is planned for 2009, whichmeans that next year their salaries will not be raised.

The proposal triggered a debate at the government meetingon Nov. 13.

Defense Minister Atis Slakteris tried to dissuade hiscolleagues from deciding the issue and urged them to leave the decision to thenext government.

Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis, meanwhile, pointed out thatthis was a "politically sensitive" issue at a time when thegovernment is implementing austerity measures and telling the rest of thepopulation not to expect large pay rises.

But Kalvitis defended the right of government ministers tosee their pay increase, saying: "It is clear that a pay increase isnecessary, because ministers receive less than top civil servants andMPs," Kalvitis said.

He added that the relatively small salaries on offer cancreate problems in attracting high-fliers to ministerial posts when they can earnmuch more money in the private sector.

Ministers' salaries are calculated by multiplying the pastyear's average wage of public sector employees by eight. The coefficient usedfor calculating the prime minister's salary is 8.9. At present the primeminister's monthly salary is about 2,162 lats (3,000 euros), while a ministerialsalary is 1,944 lats (2,791 euros).