Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sata explains his pay rise
By Allan Mulenga, Roy Habaalu and Tilyenji Mwanza
Thu 17 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has dismissed assertions that he decided to award himself a 10 per cent salary increment. But MMD president Nevers Mumba says President Sata does not deserve a salary increment because he does not work as the President.

In a statement issued yesterday by the President's special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah, the head of state explained that salaries and allowances for the President, Vice-President, Chief Whip, Leader of Opposition, Cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and members of parliament were determined by the Standing Committee of Parliament.

"... the procedure is once the Standing Orders Committee has determined what increment to award, the Minister of Finance issues a Statutory Instrument. In fact, this year, the committee, which includes opposition member of parliament, met and came up with an increment of 10 per cent taking into account the national resource and notwithstanding the fact that the civil service was awarded increments ranging from 0 per cent to more than 150 per cent," he stated.

President Sata stated that the decision to effect a 10 per cent salary increment to himself and other constitutional office bearers was made at Parliament by both ruling party and opposition members of parliament, whose salaries have equally been revised upwards.

"I urge all opposition members of parliament to take time and explain this slight adjustment to their party leaders to avoid shooting themselves in the foot," stated President Sata.
But Mumba said his party was deeply saddened by the newly-revised salaries for the President and other constitutional office bearers.

"Did he (President Sata) just become President to make money on top of Zambians or to deliver? In any case, Mr Sata should not be given salary increment because he doesn't work as a president. We only see him in by-elections and he flies out to America, India, China... but he never works as a president," he said.

Mumba said it was insensitive for President Sata to accept the newly-revised salary increase.

"...We have major concerns on this increment and Zambians are the ones who will be judging the President. We condemn this act and it is insensitive and it shows where they place value. It is themselves and not the Zambian people. But they give themselves increases. You must remember that there has been presidential salary increases in two and half years," he said.

Mumba urged labour minister Fackson Shamenda to stop comparing President Sata's monthly salary with other Presidents in the Southern African Development Community region.

"Shamenda's answer does not deserve to be given any attention. It didn't even need a headline because even people who have been presidents in this country, they don't get the same money that other ministers get in other countries. Because each country has its own economy. This is one of the shallowest comments from a minister who is supposed to be respected. The economy of South Africa is absolutely different from our economy," he said.

"The economy of Nigeria is different from ours, Bostwana, Namibia those are different from ours. You can't say Mr Sata must get the same amount South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is getting. It is relative, so that must be thrown out. It is a sad statement from a minister."

Yesterday, Shamenda urged politicians to stop scandalising the government over its decision to effect a 10 per cent salary increase for the President and other constitutional office holders.
Shamenda said President Sata was the lowest paid head of state in the Southern African Development Community region.

On Friday, finance minister Alexander Chikwanda issued Statutory Instruments 91 and 92 on the Presidential emoluments amendment, and ministerial and parliamentary offices emoluments amendment respectively.

According to SI 91, the President would be paid a salary calculated at the annual rate of K414,406 and a special annual allowance of K108, 934, which translates to K43,611 per month.

The Vice-President has a basic annual salary of K250,551; K62,360 as special allowance per year and K49,098 as utility allowance while the speaker has K239,557, K55, 299 and K49,098 as basic salary, special allowance and utility allowance annually. Deputy Speaker, Cabinet ministers, Chief Whip, and Leader of the Opposition have a basic annual salary of K189,672,48,551 as special allowance per year and utility allowance of K49,098 respectively. Deputy Chief Whip, deputy ministers and deputy chairperson of committee have a basic annual salary of K179,158 and K44,365 as special allowance per year and K49,098 as utility allowance per year. Private member has a basic annual salary of K177,158, K35,270 as special allowance per year and K49,098 utility allowance per year.

But ZCTU secretary general Roy Mwaba said there is no abuse or exorbitance in the 10 per cent salary increment for President Michael Sata, says .

Commenting on the 10 per cent salary increment for the President and other constitutional office bearers according to statutory instrument (SI) 91, Mwaba said the salary adjustment was not worth debating as it was provided for.

Mwaba said constitutional officer bearers deserved a salary increment like anybody else.

"What we are against as a labour movement is excessiveness. So when you are talking about an increment of 10 per cent, we want to analyse what that 10 per cent translates to. We must be very careful not just to condemn. It is 10 per cent of what?... and it is not only the President; it is constitutional office bearers; the ministers and the deputy ministers have had their salary increased by that percentage. So us as labour movement have looked at the figures and if the figures given to us are the correct ones, we did not see it necessary to cry foul," Mwaba said.

He said every year public service workers received salary increments, adding that "government workers also get their increment because everyone is a worker, so we do not want to apply double standards."

Mwaba said there was no evidence to show that there was excessiveness or abuse in the increased salaries for constitutional office bearers.
However, President Sata had in the past as opposition leader criticised such salary adjustments for constitutional officers.

In November 2008, President Sata, as opposition leader, said PF members of parliament who voted in favour of salary increments for ministers and constitutional office holders were making the standing of the party difficult.

This was when he commented on the PF parliamentarians who voted in favour of salary and allowance increments for constitutional office holders.

President Sata said the members of parliament had forgotten the reasons for which they were elected to Parliament.

"So my colleagues should not go the other way, they should behave like PF. It will be very difficult to defend my colleagues to their constituents. All those who voted for salaries are making the party standing difficult. How are they going to defend their stand in the party? They might look clever now, but the time of reckoning will come. Some will be one-time MPs because today they have forgotten the people. The same people will also forget them tomorrow... Dr Scott has to justify to Lusaka-Central," President Sata said then.

But former chief government spokesperson Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha had challenged President Sata then that he should not condemn the salary and allowance increment because even PF members of parliament voted "Yes"in support of the bills in Parliament.
However, President Sata challenged his members of parliament who voted for their salary increments to justify their higher perks to the nation.

"And even PF members who voted for the bill, they must justify to the nation; are they worth salary increments? What have they done in their constituencies to deserve salary increments? What sacrifice have they done to deserve salary increments?"

He maintained that he was opposed to the salary increments.
"Even if he Lt Gen Shikapwasha named PF members of parliament, if you look at that Parliament as it is today, MMD has 84 members of parliament. When you add UPND 22, that comes to 106, when you add 18 of our 'rebels', they come to 124 and that vote you had there was only 119," President Sata said then.

He said Zambians were the ones who should have decided that members of parliament and other constitutional office holders deserved an upward adjustment of their salaries and not the parliamentarians, who are employees, to decide for themselves.

"Are we going to pay them for killing the kwacha? Are we going to pay them for bringing expensive mealie-meal? Are we going to pay them for bringing expensive fuel? Are we going to pay them for a stagnant economy where we don't know where we are going? Is that what they are saying they deserve salary increment? And I am talking about all our representatives in the House, regardless of their political parties," President Sata said then.

"You remember that those bills were a subject of the elections. We condemned them during the elections and when we condemned Rupiah Banda, who cheated the people of Zambia that 'I am withdrawing the bills, I am not going to sign them.'"

President Sata also advised Lt Gen Shikapwasha, who was also information and broadcasting services minister at the time, not to demean teachers and other civil servants, who got lower salaries.
According to Paywizard.org, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe gets the lowest annual salary in SADC, at US$18,000, followed by Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili at US$46,915.

Oil producer Angola's President Edwardo Santos gets US$60,000 and Mozambique's Armando Guebuza earns US$53,419.

Zambia's President Sata, Namibia's Hifikepunye Pohamba and South Africa's Jacob Zuma get $82,632, $122,350 and $254,121 respectively.


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