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Finance Minister denies claims that public servants’ salaries are set to be cut by $3billion

The Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, is today seeking to clarify recent comments by Moody’s Investor Service (Moody) that has been causing a stir in the public domain.

Via a media statement issued on the matter, Minister Imbert says he has taken note of statements made in its Issuer Comment dated June 30th 2017 on the mid-year budget review of the Trinidad and Tobago Government, which was presented on May 10th 2017.

In its Issuer Comment, Moody’s said that “Further spending reductions could materialize during the rest of the year as the government plans to cut TT$3 billion from public salaries this year.”

Seeking to clarify the issue the Minister of Finance states that the Government has no plan to cut public servant’s salaries or public salaries by $3 billion.

He says the reality is that the Government is no longer faced with the $5 billion plus back pay bill for public officers which it was confronted with in September 2015, since most of this back pay was paid in 2016 and the first half of 2017.

Moody’s he says, misconstrued the reference to the absence of a requirement for an allocation of $3 billion in back pay in fiscal 2018 and strangely characterized this reduction in back pay liability as a “cut” in “public salaries”.

However, he assures it is not a cut in salaries but rather a natural reduction in the requirement for back pay.