Good news for Fiji civil servants around the country as all salary-based civil servants will receive a pay rise of around seven percent to 10 percent while the age earners will get an increment ranging from 10 percent up to 20 percent effective from 01 August 2024.

Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad while announcing the 2024-2025 Budget says the lowest wage in the civil service on Band A will be increased from $4.60 (US$2.30) an hour to $5.60 (US$2.80) an hour, an increase of 20 percent.

Prasad said those on Band B receiving $6.27 (US$3.13) an hour on Step 3 will get a 60 percent pay rise.

He said the major pay rise for our civil servants, will inject almost $85million (US$42.5 million) into the pockets of around 42,000 public sector employees.

This pay ranges from seven percent up to 20 percent depending on the salary bands.

The increase in wages for civil servants will cost Government an additional budget of $66 million (US$33 million).

The Coalition Government has announced an increase in the national minimum wage, which is a major step toward guaranteeing equitable compensation for workers across the country.

Professor Prasad said the national minimum wage will increase to $5 (US$2.50) per hour after a thorough evaluation by an impartial team of experts that involved discussions with employers, labor organisations, elected officials, and other interested parties.

Prasad said the implementation of this wage increase will occur in two phases.

Effective from 01 August 2024, the national minimum wage will increase to $4.50(US$2.25) per hour.

This will be followed by a further increase to $5 (US$2.50) per hour, effective from 01 April 2025.

In addition to the general minimum wage increase, sector-specific wages will also see a rise.

Starting 01 August 2024, all sector wages will be increased by 50 cents across the board, with an additional 50-cent (US$0.25c) increase set for 01 April 2025.

“For instance, a cashier currently earning $4.44 (US$2.22) per hour will see their wage rise to $4.94 (US$2.47) per hour from 01 August 2024, and further to $5.44 (US$2.72) per hour from 01 April, 2025. Similarly, a foreman in the construction industry currently earning $6.54 (US$3.27 million) per hour will have their wage increased to $7.54 (US$3.77) per hour by 01 April 2025.”

Prasad is urging all employers to ensure that the correct minimum wages are paid to workers.

Recognising the potential economic challenges, these new rates may pose for some employers, the government has expressed openness to exploring solutions for those significantly impacted.

The Coalition government believes that the new minimum wage rates will not only enhance productivity but also reduce employee absenteeism by providing greater incentives for lower-paid employees to improve their attendance and aspire to higher incomes through skill acquisition and increased productivity.

The wage adjustments reflect the government’s commitment to fostering a fair and just working environment for all workers in the country.

Professor Prasad has also announced that the debt-to GDP ratio is estimated to be around 78 percent at the end of July 2024.

While delivering his budget address in parliament today Professor Prasad said a substantial reduction from the 90 percent they inherited from the previous administration.

Fiscal deficit is estimated to be around four percent lower than the 4.8 percent announced earlier.

He said that the reduction has been welcomed by multilateral institutions and development partners.

The 2024-2025 Budget is set with a total expenditure of $4.552 billion (US$2.276 billion) and a total revenue of $3.917 billion (US$1.958 million). The fiscal deficit is set at $635.5 million (US$317.75 million), or 4.5 percent of GDP.

The theme for the Budget is ‘Long Term Economic Stability, Security and Sustainability of Fiji’.