Opposition members of parliament have asked government to consider reviewing the salary hike of civil servants, saying the 21 percent increase announced in the budget statement is manifestly in adequate in view of the Kwacha devaluation.
“I am very disappointed with the 21 per cent salary hike for civil servants. The 49 per cent devaluation meant that someone who was earning K10, 000, for example, had his salary reduced to K5, 100 in terms of the buying power,” said Mc Steyen Mkomba, MCP lawmaker for Dedza Central.
“Now with the 21 per cent salary increase, if you calculate, you find that the K5, 100 comes to K6, 171. What this means is that everyone’s salary has been effectively reduced.”
The MP said entrusting the implementation of all the safety nets, good as they may be, into the same civil servant whose salary has been reduced “ I think this is a very toll order and it will only breed a lot of corruption. “
Mkomba said “it will be prudent for government to look at the salary increment so that the people have the buying power, so that even when the manufacturing industry produces goods, the people should be able to buy the goods. The companies can then make profits and expand their business, and then employee more people.”
Adding his voice, Peter Mangulenje, DPP MP for Zomba Chisi, said government should “go back to the drawing board and come up with at least 80 per cent for the civil servants to meet the cost of commodities which have gone up thrice as much.”
Finance Minister Ken Lipenga told parliament that “wages and salaries for civil servants are pegged at 86.8 billion kwacha ($340 million, 270 million euro). With this provision, government will be able to restructure salaries for civil servants by an average of 21 percent which is above projected inflation.”
Malawi’s 170,000 civil servants earn around $100 a month, low compared with the region but sought after locally.