He said this means, among other things, not employing any new government workers unless absolutely necessary.
Premier Fahie gave that indication while responding to questions about whether the salary scale of the public service would be affected given the state of the economy.
He said: “Right now we are not in that direction as yet with the public service … We are trying to make sure that we do all that is possible within the law that is fair and creative to avoid us reaching to that point or to having to lay off persons.”
“I am trying to make sure that not one single public officer loses their job. I have been accused of not approving new posts. But, I told them if we continue to increase the recurrent of government and have to pay more persons [while] getting less money because of COVID-19, then we would have to make some decisions on who will stay. So, only the areas that we necessarily realize that are urgent right now that we are filling because we cannot contribute to our own demise,” Fahie added while speaking at a recent press conference.
In the meantime, the leader of government business said his administration is doing all in its power to keep the recurrent budget down.
“We are daily looking at the finances of the country. We are monitoring it, as we say in our culture ‘like a hawk’, and I know we have a lot of work to do. But I am optimistic in terms of what’s ahead in terms of the revenues,” he stated.
The Premier also addressed the matter involving the BVI Airport Authority’s recent circular which states that staff members’ work hours will be reduced from 30 hours per week to 40 hours.
It further said salaries would be paid to reflect the new hours. This change came into effect on July 1.
“I wanted to point out that the Airport Authority while the government is one of its main shareholders, it’s a corporate body. One would appreciate that they generate their own revenue and it’s no secret that there are no planes flying. So it’s an issue for them along that front,” Fahied stated.