… 51 percent as equity for Kuensel’s raise

Thukten Zangpo

The government will fund the pay raise of three State-owned enterprises (SOEs)—Bhutan Broadcasting Service, Farm Machinery Corporation Limited, and Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Limited, Finance Minister Namgay Tshering said.

“These are the three SOEs the government will need to support,” he said.

For Kuensel Corporation Ltd., with majority government shareholding, 51 percent, Lyonpo said that the Cabinet decided to fund  51 percent of the pay raise cost as equity, provided the rest of the shareholders agree to support 49 percent in tandem with the share they hold.

“Among the SOEs, Kuensel has only 51 percent of government shareholding and the government did not support it until now,” he added.

The finance ministry approved a pay revision between 46 and 72 percent for SOEs on October 20, effective from October this year.

For the top-level grade 1, with Nu 25,322 as a fixed monthly allowance, he or she gets a gross salary of Nu 92, 018 per month.

At the same time, a low-level or at  grade-19, employee gets a revision of 64 percent or additional Nu 6, 468 with a monthly gross salary of Nu 20,148. Conversely, a grade-18 employee gets a 72 percent raise or Nu 7,628 with a gross salary of Nu 21,783 monthly.

SOE employees will also receive a 20 percent house rent allowance on top of  their existing basic pay.

The disparity in percentage raise among the grades, Finance Minister Namgay Tshering clarified, was  aimed at  SOE employees’ pay not be worse-off as compared to the same grade in civil servants. Civil servants saw a pay revision of 55 to 74 percent from July this year.

Although the SOE employees’ grades were pegged to civil servants’ grades in the 2019 pay revision, Lyonpo said that there was a pay difference of an average of 5 to 6 percent higher for SOE employees.

In order to maintain parity, he said that there is variation in percentage. Lyonpo also said that the basic pay for the grade-18 employee was higher than the civil servants at the same grade.

Unlike civil servants’ leave travel concession (LTC) and leave encashment (LE) prorated monthly, Lyonpo said the SOE employees will receive as per the respective company’s service rule. This means that SOE employees will receive Nu 15,000 as LTC and employees’ basic pay as LE annually.

On company and the position-specific allowance, Lyonpo said that it would be as per the respective company’s service rules. However, keeping relevancy and affordability decisions to the board. “It will continue if the board decides to retain.”

On  the pay and allowance revision of contract employees including chief executive officers, he said that it would be decided by the respective board upon the contract agreement between the companies and contract employees. While the contract allowance for chief executive officers should not exceed 60 percent of the minimum basic pay.

The Performance Based Variable Incentive (PBVI) for the SOEs will be entitled to 25 percent of the basic pay, at par with the Druk Holding and Investments Companies and it will be decided based on the performance of the companies by the respective boards.