Following a six percent increase in salaries of public servants in April this year, Parliament secretly approved a hefty increase of close to 40 percent for the President, Vice President, Leader of Opposition and Members of Parliament.
Information passed to Sunday Standard relating to salaries and allowances of the National Assembly shows that after the passing of the National Assembly Salaries and Allowances Amendment Bill of 2015 three months ago, President Ian Khama’s salary was increased by 26 percent to P651, 348 per annum. Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi also had his salary increased as he now pockets P501, 216 per annum or P41, 768 per month. On the other hand, cabinet ministers and the Speaker now earn P439, 656 per annum which translate to P36, 638 monthly. The leader of Opposition, Duma Boko has his new salary pegged at P30, 891 per month or P370, 692 per annum, on par with that of assistant ministers and Deputy Speaker, Kagiso Molatlhegi.
Ordinary Members of Parliament like Phenyo Butale, Wynter Mmolotsi and Ignatius Moswaane also hiked their salaries by at least 32 percent from 201, 565.00 in 2014 to P266, 460 annually effective May this year. Under the new salaries, the chairpersons of parliamentary committees will receive a daily allowance of P59.31 if the committee conducts business on a day that Parliament is not sitting. The Members of Parliament have also had allowances such as constituency, hospitality, communication and acting allowance increased by six percent.
Single digit increase for civil servants
The public service negotiations on salaries and other conditions of service for the year 2015/16 were completed in April this year, after both government and trade unions agreed on a six percent salary increase. Initially trade unions had proposed a 15 percent salary hike while government offered only 4 percent. The trade unions submitted their proposals for negotiations on salary and conditions of service for the year 2015/16 on 25th November 2014 while government submitted its counter proposal on 20th January 2015. Despite this increase, the President of Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), Johannes Tshukudu has previously slammed government for failing to take public servants grievances into consideration, saying such a habit is slowly dragging the country into shambles.
“When trade unions call for the improvement of conditions of work and better salaries, the employer being the government uses all its muscle power to silence them by labeling them unpatriotic, inconsiderate and self-seeking disregarding other quarters of the society,” he said.
ERODED PURCHASING POWER
Meanwhile BOFEPUSO says the purchasing power of public servants continue to be eroded by increase in the cost of living which is more than the 6 percent salary hike. On April 1, households started paying seven percent more for their prepaid electricity after the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) increased the electricity tariff. With the latest tariff adjustments, consumers now pay 61 thebe pr KWh for their electricity. The increase follows that of 2014 in which the corporation increased its tariffs by 10 percent. The power utility has been incurring huge costs from procuring power from external sources as the local power station, Morupule B continues to fail.
At the Same time, following cabinet’s approval of a new water tariff structure in April this year so the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) implementing the second step of water tariffs rationalisation and adjustment of tariffs. The newly introduced wastewater tariffs are being incorporated in customers’ monthly bills. Another increase was health related which saw several medical aid providers including the leading public service sector provider, BPOMAS hiking their annual subscriptions fees.