By limiting pay rises to the rate of inflation, the ministry hopes to bring its spiralling budget deficit under control.

The Finance Ministry’s assistant secretary-general Essa Saleh told the official news agency Petra that the “living standards improvement allowance” would be increased to link salaries to inflation with effect from the start of January 2009.

The annualised inflation rate reached 14.9 per cent by the end of August, but Saleh declined to say when the ministry would calculate the pay award for 2009.

According to Saleh, 6 per cent of the best performing civil servants in the country will get a pay increase three times greater than the rate of inflation.

Saleh told MEED in February that the Public Sector Development Ministry was looking at ways to link pay and productivity (MEED 22:2:08).