Kuugongelwa-Amadhila defends public servants’ salary

WINDHOEK: Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says the provision for public servants’ remuneration made under the current Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) arises from an agreement between Government and trade unions.

The minister said this in the National Assembly on Tuesday in response to questions by Members of Parliament during the discussion of the 2014/15 Appropriation Bill and 2014/15-2016/17 MTEF.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the 10 per cent salary increase for civil servants, effective 01 April 2014, includes adjustments as a result of appeals to the Job Evaluation and Grading (JEG) implemented from 2013/14.

She explained that while the size of the public service has significant implications for the budget, it goes beyond the scope of the budget formulation, adding that dealing with this matter is a process that requires cooperation amongst different stakeholders.

Together, these measures account for some N.dollars 2,5 billion or 5,2 per cent of the operational budget in the 2014/15 financial year.

On the progress in addressing socio-economic challenges, the finance minister said the country has recorded consistent positive economic growth rates, with the economy expanding by two-and-a-half times since 1990.

She said the nation’s income per capita has increased by more than 60 per cent in real terms, propelling Namibia to reach upper-middle income status in 2010.

In nominal terms, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said, income per capita now stands at N.dollars 50 234, compared to N.dollars 19 048 ten years ago.

“We have also made progress in pushing back the frontiers of poverty and inequality,” she said.

The latest National Household Income and Expenditure Survey showed that relative poverty has been almost halved since Independence in 1990, decreasing from 38 per cent in 1993/94 to 20 per cent by 2009/10.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila noted that extreme poverty has fallen from nine per cent to two per cent, and the country’s Gini coefficient has narrowed from 0.70 at Independence to 0.58 in 2009/10 against the Vision 2030 target of 0.55 by 2015.

“This represents significant progress and provides a solid foundation for attaining our objectives under Vision 2030, which will be further built upon by the current MTEF and by National Development Plan four (NDP4),” she said.