Saturday, February 19, 2011

Minimum wage not adequate - Mususu

Minimum wage not adequate - Mususu
By Moses Kuwema
Sat 19 Feb. 2011, 04:00 CAT

GOVERNMENT leaders need to tighten their belts to indirectly cushion the salaries of the poor, says Bishop Paul Mususu.

In an interview yesterday following the recently announced K419,000 as minimum wage for non-unionised workers, Bishop Mususu advised government leaders to trim costs in the interest of poor workers.

“It is unfortunate that when these people think of the poor, they don’t lower themselves to the levels of these people,” said Bishop Mususu who is former Evengelical Fellowship of Zambia executive director.

Bishop Mususu said the minimum wage was not adequate and needed to be adjusted.

He said the common sense that people needed to bear in mind was the Basic Needs Basket (BNB) which indicated that the cost of living for a family of six in Lusaka was above K2 million.

“We need to be sympathetic with the poor and that’s why I am saying certain things that are enjoyed by the leaders in government should be curtailed to indirectly push certain amounts to the poor,” he said.

Bishop Mususu said the reality on the ground was that the current wage was not enough and added that this could not be disputed.

The government recently announced an increment in the minimum wage for non-unionised workers from K268,000 to K419,000, with the wage for domestic workers being increased to K250,000.

But on Thursday, Caritas Zambia said it will be tough for the country to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on poverty with the set minimum wage of K419,000.

Caritas Zambia’s unit head for development Martin Sampa said despite the increase of the figure from K268,000, a good number of citizens in the country were still living below the poverty datum line.

He said the government should tie the minimum wage issue to the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) Basic Needs Basket (BNB) which was now around K3,000,000 for a family of six in Lusaka.

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