Muscat’s cabinet of ministers 18% costlier over 2013

Total salaries for ministerial secretariats is over €11 million but individually Muscat’s ministries cost less than Gonzi’s small Cabinet – 2014 estimates

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
13 November 2013, 12:00am
One cabinet, €11.8 million
One cabinet, €11.8 million
Joseph Muscat's Cabinet of ministers and their private secretariats will cost an estimated €11.8 million in 2014, up 18% from its estimated cost in 2013.

The comparison is drawn from Budget 2014's financial estimates for the cost of ministries in the next year.

Earlier in April 2013, when Labour passed the Budget drafted by the former administration, Muscat's enlarged Cabinet of 14 ministers and eight parliamentary secretaries was estimated to have shot the cost of Malta's political offices up by 23%, or €1.9 million over and above the €8.1 million that Lawrence Gonzi's Cabinet was estimated to have cost had it been re-elected in 2013.

 

The actual cost of Muscat's Cabinet in 2013 is actually cheaper than what was estimated, since the new secretariats and ministers took office in April 2013.

On average, Gonzi and his 13 ministers cost the exchequer €579,961 to run; Muscat's 14 ministers and eight junior ministers on the other hand will cost €515,543 - still 11% cheaper when taken on an individual basis.

In 2014, under Muscat top political salaries top the €1 million mark, while their secretariats cost €7.6 million, excluding another €4 million in bonuses, allowances, social security contributions, and overtime.

One major difference between the Muscat and Gonzi Cabinets is that none of the Labour prime minister's Cabinet members have been paid any of the increased salary that Gonzi's Cabinet paid themselves in 2008 when their salaries were topped up by an average of €25,000 a year.

But the addition of new ministers has sent the cost of secretariats up by €2.3 million in 2014, a 46% increase over the last Gonzi Cabinet. Individually, ministerial salaries are 77% costlier.

In the past Muscat has said he would get get more bang for hisbuck with his crop of ministers. Muscat had insisted that his ministers would not be paid any of the increased salary that Gonzi's Cabinet paid themselves in 2008 when their salaries were topped up by an average of €25,000 a year.

The 'secret' pay rise led to national outrage and widespread discontent in the Nationalist backbench, since the increase was camouflaged as an increased MPs' honorarium that was not given to other MPs. Ministers had to refund the increase they pocketed back in 2011, and then had their salaries cut in January 2012 when Gonzi announced a Cabinet reshuffle.

 

 

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.