Sat, 15 Jan 2000

Salary hike not a priority: Sutiyoso

JAKARTA (JP): The city administration will not follow the central government's move to increase the salaries of its employees, Governor Sutiyoso announced at City Hall, saying salary hikes were not considered a top priority.

"The city administration's top priority is to improve the welfare of lower-income residents who have been affected by the prolonged economic crisis," he said.

However, a senior official said governors all over the country, including Sutiyoso, would receive Rp 18 million (US$2,500) monthly, an increase from the current salary of Rp 2.3 million.

The central government announced it would increase the salaries of all civil servants, military and police personnel by 20 percent starting April 1, the start of 2000 fiscal year. It also included a significant hike for top state officials, including the President.

Sutiyoso acknowledged that the city's financial condition had improved compared to during the crisis, which began in late 1997.

"However, city revenue is still not enough to finance all city programs. Therefore, increasing city employees' salaries will be of the least priority," he added.

City spokesman Muhayat said that currently there were some 70,000 city employees of all levels and ranks.

"The number will increase when we receive employees from the ministries' regional offices, as stipulated in Law No. 22/1999 on regional autonomy. The transferred employees will also become the city's responsibility," he said.

On Tuesday, chairman of City Council Commission C for city revenue, Asballah Usman, said there was a plan to increase councilors' salaries for the 2000 fiscal year.

"The hike is important to improve the quality of councilors anticipating regional autonomy," he said. (05)