Sunday, September 20, 2020

Proposed parastatal boards sitting allowances to attract brains

Government officials in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning are finishing a paper on proposals to review sitting allowances that might attract brains to join board of directors of parastatals.

It has been revealed that sitting allowances for board members of government entities were last adjusted in 2004 and a new review consideration is supported by new minister Kenneth Matambo.

Solomon Sekwakwa, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, stated on Monday the issue of reviewing sitting allowance is far advancedÔÇö a decision that will also be subject to cabinet approval.

“I still have a personal view on this one,” Matambo said on Monday. “It is difficult to attract directors who are capable (to these parastatal boards).”
Together with de-linking process, government wants to make parastatals attractive to brains that are there in the industry.

De-linking exercise proposes separating parastatal pay structures from that of public servants.

It has been muted for a long time and Sekwaka says they are working on it and are in the process of preparing the final memo. Currently there is draft proposal.

“I am not going to promise that I am going to do a miracle,” added Matambo.
“But we are writing some paper that takes into account board fees. The allowances have been set a long time back and they need to be reviewed.”

However, the minister stated that the proposed adjustment is not something that will affect government coffers, but taking into the factor of inflation.
“My view is that they should be reviewed upwards. These allowances are meagre; that is why I am supportive of a review,” the minister said.

Matambo explained a number of competent people are reluctant to join boards of directors of parastatals because ‘they are busy’.

“These good people are not willing to be on parastatal boards.”

The minister defended the composition of boards saying the reason they have the ‘same faces’ is because mostly they are civil servants as required by legislations that established such parastatals.

He said that should not be surprising as Permanent Secretaries should at times be the chairpersons of government entities.

“We really have to do persuasions for people in the private sector, for civil servants you just have to point at them,” said the minister.


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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.