Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has been asked to come clear on when government will raise the salary on civil servants with Mangochi Monkey Bay MP and People’s Party (PP) spokesperson on finance in Parliament, Ralph Jooma saying the minister has not been “transparent enough.”
Gondwe presented to Parliament for deliberation a K901.6 billion (US$2.1 billion) national budget in which government seeks to increase the annual salaries and wages from the current K198 billion (US$440 million) to K228 billion (US$506.7 million), which would result in 25 percent of the financial plan being spent on salaries and wages for less than 200 000 public servants out of 16 million people.
In his critique to the financial plan, Jooma said the Finance Minister has not been “transparent enough” with regard to the proposal for salary increments.
“In this budget, Mr Speaker, Sir, inflation is projected at 16.4 per cent, but what we are hearing about civil servants increment is not getting to the point,” said Jooma.
Jooma said transparency and inclusiveness are desired elements in salary increments.
He noted that Gondwe only said there will be an increment of salaries for junior grade-staff and that will be implemented in “December, 2016.”
Said Jooma: “We think he meant 2015, but in the book it is written 2016. But the question is, which grades will benefit and at what rate? It is our hope that issues of inflation will be factored in on arriving at an appropriate increment rate.
“The problem with such oblique assertions, Mr Speaker, Sir, is more likely to result into what we saw last year where senior officers received higher rate of increment than junior officers and in the process, increasing the disparity between the rich and the poor.”
The Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) has given the government a 21-day ultimatum to act on their demand for salary increment.
CSTU Secretary General Madalitso Njolomole said that the civil servants feel betrayed by their employer, the government, on the salary revision for the 2015/16 financial year.
“The information we have from the Treasury indicates that government will not honour what was agreed during the salary negotiations revision,” he said.
He said the body wants the government to honour and implement the salary adjustments during the next financial year which starts on July 1.
Meanwhile, Jooma told parliament that people are asking whether the 2015/16 budget is pro-poor or not
“We know what the impoverished in our society want because we stay with them. For us to know whether a budget is pro-poor or not, we must visionalise a life of a village household. What does a typical village household need from morning to the end of the day? Fellow Members will agree with me that they do not ask for too much. They need food, clean water, medical facilities, good schools and finally, they need good community roads.
“Now, on food. We are told that this budget has resources to buy maize for both distribution and sale because Mr Speaker, Sir, this country has been hit by severe hunger. We would like to ask government to be fair, transparent and inclusive in the whole process,” said Jooma.
Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya said it its expected that the debate on the budget estimates will be curtailed on Friday, 19th June, 2015 immediately before adjournment of the House at 12:30 p.m.
He said Finance Minister will deliver his winding up speech on the budget estimates on Monday 22nd June at 2:00 p.m. Immediately thereafter, it will be the Committee of Supply, Appropriation Bill and other related bills to be taken between the afternoon of Monday 22nd June and Friday, 26th June, 2015Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :