GRA Workers dissatisfied With 5% Salary Increase
When 2010 comes to an end, it will mark another year of record collection for the Guyana Revenue Authority. GRA has already surpassed its revenue collection targets for this year but the commissioner General of the revenue collection agency believes its time workers of the GRA begin reaping the real benefits of their labour in pulling in more money for the government. In a video statement issued today by Commissioner General Khurshid Sattaur he said it was time for the government to begin treating GRA a whole lot better.
He spoke about some of the bad press the agency has gotten over the years for a few incidents involving some officers but he noted that that cannot be compared to the quality of work that the agency has been putting out on behalf of the government. As far as Sattaur is concerned GRA workers should be enjoying a higher salary increase than the 5% offered to all public servants.
The Commissioner General pointed out that President Jagdeo has been doing a good job with the country and that job may have been made easier because of the commitment of GRA workers in collecting revenue for the administration. He is hoping to meet with the president and put forward what he considers requests and not demands for GRA workers.
Last year the Guyana Revenue Agency collected a whopping 94 billion dollars, a 15% increase over the previous year. This year’s figures are expected to surpass that. GRA officers have always been pushing for better salaries because of the type of job and the results that the government has been enjoying. Many of them are disappointed with the 5% increase recently announced by government and they believe they ought to be treated differently. But with all that the government has always had its eyes on the cases of fraud that have been popping up at the agency and the many reports of bribes and kickbacks. So much so that President Jagdeo a few years back expressed concern about what he considered the lavish lifestyles that some customs officers were enjoying.
And still with customs, an investigation has been launched by the Guyana Police Force after a shot gun was discovered in a barrel at a local shipping agency. The shotgun was discovered hidden among food items and the person the barrel was addressed to and who was there when the discovery was during examination was taken into custody.
The consignee hails from the Berbice area. The discovery has forced customs officials to step up their monitoring of all barrels, packages and containers arriving in the country. It was just a few weeks back that a quantity of ammunition was discovered in another barrel that had arrived in the country. The two discoveries come on the heels of a decision by customs to continue checking all barrels coming into Guyana. The agency had earlier announced a move that would have seen no examinations being done so as to fast track the process but that move was halted even before it was implemented.
Security officials are said to be very concerned about the two finds and one official said he believes persons might be testing the level of security at Guyana’s shipping ports.