Is it a good idea to modernise the payment of government officials’ salaries?

The government is considering overhauling the way it pays officials so they get their wages on time and is mulling the idea of paying salaries via the use of bank transfers and ATM cards. Vientiane Times asked people for their opinions on this new system.

Mr Kham, a government official at Naxaithong district:  I think this proposal has both positive and negative sides. If salaries are paid into banks it is convenient and means that some men won’t spend half of it on alcohol before giving money to their wives, but for me the most significant point is that it will improve financial management. Such a system could reduce corruption and help regulate budget expenditure in government offices. But if you think about the practical aspects of paying soldiers or police by bank transfer, they will have to provide their personal information to a considerable number of officials, which may put them at risk and make it easy for enemies to find out information about our army. It’s very important to protect this information for the purposes of national security. I would like the authorities to reconsider this plan. We have to weigh up the pros and cons and make sure that any decision results in more benefits than disadvantages. 


Mr Anolard Koonlasinh, an official in Sisattanak district: I think it’s good for staff who have to watch their expenditure carefully, with living costs being so high these days. If the government pays the salaries of junior officials on time it means they will be able to pay their children’s school fees more easily. Some people are dependent on a government salary only and don’t have any other source of income. In my opinion, first of all we need to improve the financial systems used by government offices to ensure things don’t take so long and the rules are strictly complied with. Every change has its good and bad sides, so the government should consider this plan carefully before going ahead with it.
Ms Malaikone, an official in Xanasomboun district, Champassak province: I am an intern at a government office so I don’t know much about the payment of wages because I don’t earn a salary. I have to become a government official before I start earning money. In my opinion the proposed system would be good for officials in rural areas because they have to make a lot of payments in relation to their children such as medicine, clothing, food and school fees. But if the government pays salaries by bank transfer how much will it have to pay in service charges to banks? It might eat into the budget as there must be costs involved if everyone in the country uses an ATM card supplied by a bank. I have many questions about this plan, as it may cost the government a lot of money. But it could be good for government officials because it’s a convenient way to get money when they need it in a hurry.
Ms Siphandone, a company employee in Sisattanak district: I think it’s a convenient method of payment because it means we can get money from an ATM anywhere in the country. We have to start using modern technology like other countries do. I agree with this idea because I’m a modern person. Bank services are convenient in many ways so we should make use of them and be ready to accept change. I support the government’s policy even though I work for a private company.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update December 31, 2018)

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