Promised Pay Raise Delayed For Soldiers

The Council of Ministers has yet to increase the monthly salary for military personnel despite last year’s approved salary increase for civil servants, officials said this week.

The salary increase will raise the monthly pay for civil servants from $28 in 2002 to $51.50 in 2006, said Ngo Hongly, adviser to Minister of Cabinet Sok An and the top administration re­form official. In 2001, the average monthly salary for civil servants was $19.50, he said.

“The increase of salary for civil servants was passed due to a change in management and administrative reforms,” Ngo Hongly said. “It is still not enough for expenses, but we are managing for them as much as we can.”

Ngo Hongly said the government will pay for the entire salary increase and will not ask foreign donors for any assistance, adding that the government will increase the monthly salary for civil servants again if the national budget has a surplus of funds for 2002.

Although civil servants will benefit from the salary increase in 2006, military and police still have not been included in the Council of Minister’s salary increases, Ngo Hongly said.

“The salary increases are for civil servants first because the census was finished before the police and the military, and the because the demobilization plan for soldiers is not yet complete,” he said. Military and police officers are expected to receive a salary increase in 2003, he said.

Ngy Tayi, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Finance, confirmed that the soldiers will not receive pay increases because the demobilization process is still not finalized.

“The government will increase the salary [of active soldiers] step by step once the demobilization process is completed,” Ngy Tayi said Tuesday.

Still, Ngy Tayi said the in­crease for civil servants is small. “We could not increase the salary to a high level at once because our funds could not bear a huge increase,” Ngy Tayi said.

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