By Atom Markarian
The Armenian government approved on Thursday a sizable increase in the salaries of the country’s 7,200 civil servants, citing the need to improve their living standards.
The measure, effective from January 1, means the average monthly wage of the employees of government ministries and other agencies will rise from the current 60,000 drams to approximately 70,000 ($155) drams.
A senior official from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Vahan Simonian, said the pay rise will require 1.5 billion drams ($3.3 million) in additional budgetary expenditures next year. He said the government’s growing tax revenues allow for such an increase.
The Armenian civil servants already earn more than other public sector employees such as teachers and doctors, and they usually get paid on time. By contrast, many teachers across Armenia have still not been paid for June and July despite the fact that tax collection envisaged by the government’s 2005 budget is proceeding according to plan.
The civil service salary is also higher than the nationwide average salary calculated by the government. It rose by 25 percent to 53,000 drams during the first half of this year. The real figure may be higher, though.