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“$2.2 million a month in allowances is too much,” says PSU

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Posted: Sunday, May 17, 2020. 8:19 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Government of Belize (GOB) spends a total of $2.2 million a month on allowances for public officers, and the Public Service Union (PSU) believes that amount is too high.

The PSU’s cost-saving recommendations to GOB addresses the issue of allowances, noting that there are several alarming discrepancies with the way these allowances are issued that need to be addressed as a part of the overall push for better economic stability.

PSU noted in its findings that some public officers, who are not heads of departments, were collecting an entertainment allowance and that some posts were getting additional allowances, such as the Director of Health Services who receives a “Specialist Allowance” on top of the other allowances afforded to posts of that rank. The PSU also pointed out major issues with vehicle allowance, which could be costing the government thousands of dollars a month.

“Motor vehicle allowance is paid to officers holding particular posts for the use of their personal vehicles in carrying out their duties. However there are instances where these officers also have a government vehicle assigned or commandeer one from their ministries,” the PSU said. “The committee can cite four Chief Executive Officers who are in receipt of this allowance but continue to use government vehicles. There are also instances where officers do not own a vehicle but receive this allowance.”

The PSU said that all allowances need to be thoroughly reviewed so that some can be done away with and others amalgamated. The union recommended that entertainment allowance be given a monthly ceiling on a credit or debit card and that any unused funds should revert to GOB and not added on to the officer’s salary. The union also called for a payroll audit and the institution of quarterly payroll audits going forward.

 

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