THE Public Service Commission has confirmed an increase in the salary of all permanent secretaries in government.
Commission permanent secretary Parmesh Chand confirmed this following findings of an independent review of the salaries of permanent secretaries by international consultants Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC).
Findings, according to a Ministry of Information statement released yesterday, concluded that salaries were not only inadequate but had failed to attract and keep the best candidates.
"Along with the increased salaries, there are stringent new conditions that will be imposed on current and future permanent secretaries," Mr Chand said in the statement.
"Permanent secretaries will now have to meet strict new performance standards, as well as more accountability and transparency as required by the new Constitution or be replaced."
The PSC did not confirm nor deny claims by the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) which released PWC's salary assessment report for 24 permanent secretaries and three disciplined services heads.
The FTUC claimed that the heads of the three disciplined forces received salary increases from $160,000 to $221,894; five permanent secretaries — for the PM's Office, Finance, Education, Health, and Works — received increases from $75,000 to $221,894; and salaries increased from $60,000 to $160,000 for the rest in other ministries.
However, Mr Chand said all permanent secretaries lose all existing entitlements, including housing, entertainment, telecommunications and travel allowances.
He said they would now be paid a flat base salary with no hidden perks.
Mr Chand said all permanent secretaries were also on new temporary contracts that would end no later than October next year, with some due to end earlier.
He said new contacts could be terminated with one month's notice.
After the parliamentary elections, Mr Chand said all permanent secretary positions would be advertised and anyone, including the current permanent secretaries, could apply through a transparent and merit-based process.
"Government needs to be able to compete with the level of remuneration being offered in the private sector to secure the best candidates for public service to serve the Fijian people. This has been an outstanding issue for a number of years."
He said government expected the new salary structure to raise the overall quality of the civil service and service delivery by attracting some of the country's finest talent.
He added the next phase of the reforms would be an assessment of the terms and conditions of the contracts and salaries for civil servants below the permanent secretary level.