Govt Orders Salary Increase for Councils

THE “government-imposed” salary structure for local authorities that saw some municipal workers getting pay increases of between 50% and 200% is likely to deepen the already cash-strapped councils’ financial woes.

Local authority office bearers have described the massive pay hikes that came as a result of the new salary structure as being “financially unsustainable”, while municipal workers are delighted at the unexpected windfall.

In mid-2013, some village councils in the South appealed to government to settle outstanding water debts with the water utility NamWater on their behalf to prevent water supply disconnections, which had become frequent due to default payments.

At that time, the village councils owed the water utility over N$39 million.

In a circular to councils last Friday, a copy of which The Namibian has seen, the local government permanent secretary Nghidinwa Daniel said minister Charles Namoloh had approved the implementation of the salary structure and motor vehicle allowance with effect from 1 July 2014.

The new salary scales, according to the circular, are aligned to the unified salary structure of the public service.

Under the new structure, the chief executive officers of category A local authorities that include municipalities of Gobabis, Grootfontein, Keetmanshoop, Tsumeb and Okahandja will earn a starting annual salary of N$447 979, while the lowest paid worker – a cleaner – will get a monthly salary of N$5 692.

The CEOs of category B local authorities that include Ondangwa, Oshakati, Luumlderitz and Mariental will get a starting annual salary of N$389 993, while a cleaner at these municipalities will receive a monthly salary of N$4 746.

In Category C, CEOs of Eenhana, Rundu, Outapi, Katima Mulilo, Henties Bay, Omaruru and Outjo will receive a starting annual salary of N$332 856, while a cleaner will pocket a month salary of N$4 205.

CEOs of Category D local authorities that include Aranos, Arandis, Helao Nafidi, Karibib, Karasburg, Khorixas, Usakos, Nkurenkuru, Oranjemund, Omuthiya, Okakarara, Otavi, Oshikuku, Okahao, Rehoboth and Ruacana will earn a starting annual salary of N$295 565, while the lowest paid workers will get a monthly salary of N$4 204.

Village council CEOs will pocket a starting annual salary of N$185 759, while the least paid worker will pocket a monthly salary of N$3 650.

According to a survey that the Namibian Association of Local Authority Officers (NALAO) conducted, CEOs of smaller towns are earning N$284 000 annually, while village council top administrators get between N$160 000 and N$200 000.

The Mayor of Keetmanshoop, Moses Titus, said the “huge” pay hikes will put the council under “severe financial strain,” and could result in massive municipal services tariff hikes.

“Financially, the massive pay hikes would be unsustainable. We would be forced to hike municipal services or divert some resources intended for capital projects to fund the wage bill,” Titus added.

Titus revealed that under the new salary structure, some council employees will receive increases as high 200%.

A local authority chief executive officer, who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, revealed that local authority CEOs had approached government for better renumeration in November last year.

However, the CEO was quick to say that since then no consultations had been taken place between parties to decide on a new salary structure.

“Obviously, the new salary structure is not based on the income local authorities earns. We do not even know on what rational the new salary structure is based,” said the CEO.

He said the salaries of CEOs of towns such as Ondangwa and Oshakati will be reduced under new salary structure.

“If consultation had taken place, we should have at least suggested to implement the huge pay hikes in phases to cater for the struggling councils,” the CEO remarked.

He said most councils face “financial headaches” because they had already announced their 20142015 budgets before receiving the “shocking” directive on massive pay hikes.

NALAO chief executive officer Nathaniel Araseb, poured cold water on the issue of affordability describing it as “divide and rule tactic”.

He suggested that the government introduces a subsidy system to fund new staggering council wage bill.

“Affordability is not an issue. We should agree on a form to make salaries equitable”.

Araseb said failure by the ministry to consult the association in deciding on the new salary structure “makes them believe that they were not doing it in good faith”.

Under the new salary structure, some CEOs still remain underpaid, said Araseb, stressing that government needs to pay attractive salaries to municipal workers if they view service delivery as important.

Araseb said the association would hold a meeting with local authorities representatives to find the way forward regarding the new salary structure.

Attempts to get comment from Namoloh proved futile as several calls to his cellphone went unanswered. At the time of going the press, local government permanent secretary, Daniel Nghidinwa had also not responded to questions relating to the affordability of the new pay structure The Namibian sent him this week.

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Latest comments

As long as we,the people, allow our civil servants to determine their own remuneration, we will not see the well being of the countries inhabitants being promoted. Their salaries should be in proportion to the work they deliver and to what the individual communities can afford. Civil servants in Okahandja for instance do not deserve any increase at this stage. – Hanlo | 0000-00-00 00:00:00 || Comment id: 45043

How I wish, 200% salary increase….! – Weah | 2014-07-14 08:10:00 || Comment id: 45034

Shuuu!! 50% and 200% salary increment for local councils while civil servants gets only a mere 10% that’s very improbable, improper and unfair mathematically. shame!!! – lifebelt | 0000-00-00 00:00:00 || Comment id: 45033

Tax payers be prepared to fork more money!! – Operi | 2014-07-14 08:08:00 || Comment id: 45026

When will remuneration be aligned with production ? Currently there is no correlation between the two – high salary and low production – the last being the result of poor management, incompetence and laziness. – Freedom Fighter | 2014-07-14 06:57:00 || Comment id: 45016

Total article comments: 5

Source : The Namibian