Gonsalves: Gov’t may soon be unable to pay salaries, pensions

If the prevailing economic situation continues, Government may be unable to pay salaries and benefits, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said on Wednesday.

“I say this with all honesty, the way things are going … in one or two months … the government may not have the $30 million every month to pay civil servants and to pay the National Insurance Services (NIS) contributions to civil servants, those who are pensionable to pay the NIS contributions for current, and to pay salaries and wages,” Gonsalves said on the radio.

He said that while his government has held things together economically “through all kinds of difficulties”, there is now “a real pressure on”.

He has also told teachers ahead of Monday’s reopening of schools that they should have a government-approved coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine or have been tested for the virus otherwise they would be asked to leave the compound.

Under his government’s vaccination or test policy for public-sector workers, all employees of the central government or statutory entities are required to submit their COVID-19 vaccination report or be tested at least once every two weeks for the virus.

Last Saturday, President of the Public Service Union Elroy Boucher said that public sector workers have adhered to the COVID-19 protocols so well that there have not been any outbreaks at any government department or agency since the shift system ended on March 17.

Gonsalves, however, said that there are a number of government offices where COVID-19 has resulted in days-long closures.

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