The government has not given any “detailed consideration” to increasing the minimum wage, Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday.
Turnquest said that while the government is aware of the public’s concerns over an increasing cost of living, that trend is now “evening out”.
“The government has not given any detailed consideration to that matter at this point. I know that there is a feeling in the public that there ought to be some adjustments to the minimum wage,” he said.
“We, of course, know that there has been some increase in the cost of living as a result of the increase in the value-added tax and the inflation rate shows that, but the trend also shows that that is evening out as we expect and that over time it will start to normalize.
“So, it is a function of how we see the economy performing, how any minimum increase would affect our current growth projections and what it will mean to the increase in the cost of living as a result of the potential increase in the wage and what dampening effect that may have on employment and on the economy.”
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said on Tuesday that there are currently ongoing talks with the National Tripartite Council about increasing the country’s minimum wage.
The minimum wage was increased from $150 per week to $210 per week in mid-2015.
Before that, the minimum wage hadn’t increased since January 2002.
Following the government’s announcement of the increase in value-added tax (VAT) from 7.5 percent to 12 percent last year, calls for a boost in minimum wage and general salary grew louder.
Turnquest said at the time that while he empathized with workers at the bottom of the economic food chain, the minimum wage would not increase, despite the 60 percent increase in VAT.