The Tonga government yesterday June 26 started distributing Letters, outlining its redundancy offer to 871 civil servants who are interested in a voluntary Redundancy Program worth $28 million.
The Minister of Finance told parliament last Tuesday that government would finance a $34 million redundancy and back pay package with a $10 million loan from the Asian Development Bank, and the sale of its 40% shares with the Westpac Bank of Tonga which will bring in $34 million.
Paula Ma‘u, the Deputy Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office, said that the letter outlined the government's offer, and there were also financial incentives to accept the offer and respond within five days. Civil servants who responded promptly could get their redundancy payment plus a bonus, even before the end of this financial year on Friday June 30.
Initially, government anticipated that 1000 civil servants would accept its Voluntary Redundancy Program, but Paula said that by yesterday only 871 had shown an interest. He said that Friday was the final day and he did not think that the 1000 target would be achieved, but government had already earmarked $28 million for the program.
The Minister of Finance, Hon. Siosiua 'Utoikamannu, told Parliament, Tuesday last week that a quick response by a public servant to the government offer, within five days would be rewarded with $1500.
The Minister told the House that by next week, the beginning of the new financial year government had allocated $34 million to be paid out to civil servants who will accept the Voluntary Redundancy Program, including 40% arrears from the salary rise that government agreed to last year when civil servants went on strike.
Paula Ma'u said that with regards to the number of Civil Servants who were interested in the redundancy program, the top two ministries were the Ministry of Education with over 100 applicants, followed by the Ministry of Works with about 60 applicants.