YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar will raise all monthly civil service and armed forces salaries by 30,000 kyat (about $37), almost double the current rate for lower-income officials, to meet the rising cost of living, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.
“With the intent to help the livelihood of the government employee and the military personnel, an additional allowance of 30,000 kyat per month will be provided to them besides their current monthly salaries effective April 1,” state-owned MRTV said in a report, citing the Ministry of Finance and Revenue.
The raise comes after pressure by lawmakers on the government to boost salaries amid price hikes and appreciation of the kyat, which the central bank plans to begin a managed float of from April and bring an end to use of its flawed fixed-rate system.
President Thein Sein acknowledged the salary problem during a televised March 1 speech to parliament and said it would be resolved as soon as possible. He is keen to win domestic support for his year-old government as it continues a programme of reforms on a scale not seen in over half a century.
In an unusual step in Myanmar, Thein Sein’s cabinet was strongly criticised by parliament speaker and his former comrade in the old military junta, Thura Shwe Mann, who said the government was being “sluggish and unsatisfactory” and had dragged its heels over the salary problem.
The increase will mean the lowest bracket of civil servants will receive 65,000 kyat per month, up from 35,000.
The highest tier, known as gazetted officers, will earn 130,000 kyat, compared to 100,000 previously, while workers paid on a daily basis will receive 2,100 kyat, up from the current 1,100, MRTV said.
The kyat traded at about 818 to the dollar on Wednesday on Myanmar’s black market, which is used for most transactions.
Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Editing by Martin Petty