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NGO IDFI Speaks of Flaws in Public Officials’ Remuneration System

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, October 1
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) has carried out a research which revealed some shortcomings and non-transparency in the public servants’ remuneration system.

The research reads that recent legal restrictions on using bonuses and salary supplements have not affected the total remuneration received by public officials.

In particular, most of the officials receive monthly payments of the same amount of money they received as a salary, bonus and supplement before the law was adopted.

Levan Avalishvili, Programs Director at IDFI, spoke about the achievements and challenges that Georgia has in terms of access to public information.

“The Government of Georgia and the Ministry of Justice must accelerate the initiation of a new draft law on freedom of information to Parliament, which will also regulate issues of publication and access to open data,” he said.

He also introduced the new online module of public official income declarations covering 2010-2017 and spoke about the existing practice of access to this information, which is further explored in a report prepared by IDFI.

“For years, Georgia has had a flawed, unfair and non-transparent system of public service remuneration. These flaws can be seen clearly in the new online module created by IDFI that features information about remuneration received by 700 high ranking officials. One such flaw is the fact that the most recent legal restrictions on using bonuses and salary supplements have not affected the total remuneration received by public officials, whose salaries were increased to accommodate the loss of bonuses and supplements,” he pointed out.

The Parliament of Georgia adopted the Law of Georgia on Salaries in Public Facilities on December 22, 2017. According to the document, the remuneration of workers employed in public institutions was determined.

The new law significantly restricted bonuses and salary supplements in the public sector. In particular, the maximum amount of wage supplements issued over the year has been limited to 20% of annual salary and 10% of cash reward annually.

At the same time, according to the law, political officials were banned from granting bonuses as well as cash prizes.

IDFI claims that the law does not cover all state institutions, adding this is a challenge. The NGO studied public information received from about 100 public institutions (Presidential Administration, Parliamentary Staff, Ministries, Ministries and other independent LEPLs) on the remuneration paid to employees and officials during the reporting period after the entry into force of the new law.

The organization assessed that:
- The new law on labor remuneration failed to implement the practice of determining the monthly salaries of the high-rank positions;
- In many cases monthly salaries of particular officials exceed the monthly salaries of their superior officials;
- Majority of officials get the same amount of monthly salaries as they used to receive before activation of a new law
- The new law on remuneration does not apply to such departments (state companies, regulatory commissions, etc.), whose supervisors receive the highest salary in the public sector;
- Disclosure of the detailed information about the remuneration of certain officials still remains an important problem.