Saturday, November 29, 2008

LETTERS - Pay and Agriculture

Livestock, fisheries sector
Written by Concerned citizen, Kabwe
Saturday, November 29, 2008 5:01:55 PM

The Post, Wednesday November 26, 2008, reported that president Rupiah Banda has maintained two cabinet ministers at the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Honourable Bradford Machila will now be in-charge of livestock and fisheries. This might have been received with mixed reactions by members of the public, especially that our cabinet is already bloated.

However, I wish to commend the President for this gesture. It is very clear that very soon, the ministry of livestock and fisheries is going to be formed. This has been long overdue. The livestock/fisheries sector can indeed play an important role in stabilising our ailing economy if well managed. Botswana stands out as an example.

The livestock sector has not been given recognition in the Ministry of Agriculture. To that effect, the sector has failed to tick. Livestock diseases have rocked this country year in and year out. Funding to this sector has suffered at the expense of crop. They have failed to realise the factor that most farmers use oxen to plough their fields. When motorbikes or vehicles are given to the ministry, it is the agriculture department that has always benefited more.

At a camp level, for example, you would find an agriculture extension officer with a motorbike while his veterinary counterpart has none. This has reduced the veterinary sector to an orphan department in the ministry. The transport problem has also turned the veterinary staff into office workers instead of field workers.

I therefore wish to encourage the President to establish the ministry of livestock and fisheries as quickly as possible.

The minister is already there, the deputy minister, the permanent secretary, the director, etc. And more importantly, the veterinary/fisheries department already has the existing structures at all levels, from camp to headquarters.

We wish to see this ministry funded separately in next year’s budget.

Kambwili on salaries
Written by Johnstone Chikwanda, Former UNZASU Treasurer-General
Saturday, November 29, 2008 5:03:39 PM

Roan Patriotic Front member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili has stated that salaries that parliamentarians get are a joke (Post edition dated 25th November, 2008).

Further, he has revealed that MPs get K5m per month less K1.2m insurance and K2.3m for the recovery of vehicle loan repayment (I suppose). There is a further deduction of PAYE!

Although this revelation does not paint a good picture for our honourable members of parliament ( I believe in fair compensation for our MPs), I feel that Kambwili did not deal circumspectly with the issue at hand. His revelations are not complete and have created room for many questions that need answers.

1. How did the K5m monthly salary give rise to a staggering mid term gratuity of more than K200m? Standard gratuity calculations are based on basic pay. In this case, it appears to have been calculated at more than 100 per cent of the basic. It ceases to be gratuity. Gratuity is that tip given in the form of money in return for a service.

2. How much is one’s sitting allowance when Parliament is in session?

3. Do MPs get any sitting allowance for sitting on constituted committees of Parliament. If they do how much is this?

4. How do they manage to clear vehicle loans based on the K2.3m monthly deductions bearing in mind the cost of vehicles most of them drive even if they are duty-free? You will need 5 years to raise K138m which is not enough to clear most vehicle loans and10 years to raise double that amount.

I request that someone deal with this matter exhaustively . Our MPs must be paid fairly but at the same time, it is important for the nation to know their current total earnings when Parliament is in session and when it is not.

Hi, MrK Home Business Sports Lifestyle Columns CourtLetters World Comments Home News Education Post Home Letters Rupiah’s position on pay rise Saturday, November 29, 2008 5:08:34 PMRupiah’s position on pay rise
Written by Godfrey Mambwe
I read Rupiah’s position on the signing of the bill to increase salaries for himself, Cabinet ministers, MPs and other constitutional office bearers with absolute disappointment.

Describing the increment as very small is indeed inhuman and a mockery to the taxpayers and the whole nation that expected this new government to do contrary to this display of their self-centredness and hypocrisy.

Surely, in this economic crisis, a sane government cannot think of increasing salaries for only a few privileged, but exploitative and selfish politicians.

Are these the only persons who have been hit by the economic crisis? What about the many suffering Zambians living in abject poverty and can hardly afford three meals a day?

It is a shame. While we expected the RB camp to begin to deliver on their promises, we are greeted with the worst kind of election aftermath that has only exposed the true, but ugly colours of the leaders we have entrusted to drive the nation’s economy.

If anything, I never expected the President to sign the bills or even to have allowed this once-shelfed bill (only as a campaign gimmick) to go back to Parliament. Serve the nation first before you can service your pockets.

MPs’ pay rise
Written by Concerned citizen
Saturday, November 29, 2008 5:09:00 PM

I would like to believe that our MPs are living far much better lives than teachers, police officers, council workers and most of our public workers.

Otherwise, how would you explain the great lengths our parliamentarians go to in ensuring that they get a seat in the house?

Some of our parliamentarians even give up well-paying jobs to join politics. What does this mean? It simply means that there is something good in being an MP, minister or indeed president.

I'm not entirely against the pay rise but what our MPs, ministers and the President should have considered is that things are rough for the average Zambian at present.

Hunger does not only target MPs, ministers or the President; it actually attacks everyone regardless of one's status or age.

Our leaders should have carefully studied the poverty levels in the country before awarding themselves unreasonable salaries and allowances.

Let the government go out in the rural areas and see how the poor people that voted for them are suffering. They go without food for days, while those they voted into power forget about them till the next election when they are visited for more corruption and bribes.

Why should our President, ministers and MPs complain when all their expenses are paid for by taxpayers. I have now come to believe that human beings have unlimited wants. I am sure if these people were to start getting just K800,000 or less at the end of every month some would just hang themselves because it seems they have become so used to luxurious living.

My advice to our leaders is: please make life better for your fellow human beings when God has given you a chance to. This is the only time God has given you to make life bearable for your fellow human beings. This attitude our leaders have adopted of thinking they are special compared to the general public is rather unfortunate.

The gap between the kind of life our MPs are living and that of a teacher, a police officer, a nurse and others is just so unreasonable. Where are the Christian values in these leaders? Would Jesus treat us the way these leaders are treating us?



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