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Keeping up with the Joneses

Coincidentally, now that the Bank of Thailand (BOT) has garnered foreign reserves of almost US$100 billion (Bt3.36 trillion), its officials will likely enjoy a salary rise for the first time in about a decade.

Published on December 14, 2007



Well, the two incidents are not quite related. But our sources at the central bank have revealed that senior executives are considering increasing staff salaries across the board.

Yes, we asked them again to confirm whether it was true the banking staff had never seen a pay rise since the 1997 financial crisis.

"Yes, we kind of forget when was the last time we enjoyed a pay rise," said one executive.

Perhaps their predecessors at the BOT were worried about sending the wrong signal to the market.

As the guardian of financial stability against uncontrollable inflation, the central bank should not set a bad example for others by hiking salaries, which could trigger price increases.

Over the past decade, certain technicians or specialists may have received special compensation for their performances, but there was no general salary rise.

This year, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont's Cabinet agreed to increase government salaries 4 per cent across the board.

So BOT executives did the math to come up with an appropriate salary hike, based on the inflation rate but not affecting overall inflation.

Thus, the central bank came up with a 7.5-per-cent pay rise on average, depending on individual performance.

Nonetheless, it may be a bit early for the central bankers to celebrate, because the salary rise will have to go through the appropriate procedures, including board approval.

But they all expect Tarisa Watanagase, their tough-yet-generous governor, to support the pay rise.

anoma@nationgroup.com

The Nation

 


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