ECONOMY

Benefits beyond all reason

The situation regarding the expenses for state salaries remains chaotic, with no one really knowing who is on the payroll, how much they get and why. The absence of any central monitoring system has led to a multitude of allowances, overtime pay and benefits granted without restrictions to many when only a few deserve them. It is therefore considered normal at a certain state corporation, to provide a night-guard allowance on the first day of each month to all employees. At another corporation, anyone with a computer installed on their desk receives a bonus for the PC use, regardless of whether they actually use the computer or not. Yet what tops the list of unorthodox allowances is that for «timely arrival at work.» In the last few months, there has been an effort to record the actual state of affairs in the country’s public sector as regards salary expenses but there is no knowing whether that will bear any fruit. Still, it would certainly explain to a great extent why some 60 percent of public revenues each year goes toward the payment of salaries, pensions and allowances. Even the great size of the public sector in this country cannot justify this. Most efforts in the past to contain the situation have failed because they did not get the support required. Where plans were adequately supported, the results were more than impressive. A case in point is that of «Ifaistos,» a program to control fuel transactions. Before its application, just 11 percent of those checked were identified as breaking the law, while in the first few months its operation, the rate soared to 98 percent.