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Report proposes 20% salary hike

Publishing Date : 21 January, 2019

Author : UTLWANANG GASENNELWE

Performance Management & Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) which is Malaysian, meaning “guide,” has in their confidential report to government of Botswana proposed widespread changes with far reaching implications in the public service.


Among the sweeping changes, the secretive report which was prepared for the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) has recommended 20% increment for public servants on grade A and B; 10% for grade C and D; and 15% for grade E and F. It further states that in the absence of increments to civil servants on higher notches, of grades E and F, “we recommend the following: 15% for grades A and B; 10% for grades C and D.”


The classified report dated 20 December 2018, points out that the additional cost to the government however will be P1.23 billion per annum.  According to the report, the recommendation is based on among others the affordability to the government; that it is fair to all; and sustainable to the government; and will act as a motivation to government employees.


In line with the Botswana Public Service Remuneration Policy 2018, the report further recommends a formal new salary structure review process be established and undertaken regularly to ensure the salary structure is still relevant and parity with the private sector. Best practices as in USA, South Korea and Japan was cited as having adopted a band salary structure that gets broader at the higher grades (fan-shaped) with a high degree of overlap between one range and another.


The overlap allows an employee to progress and enjoy higher salaries within the same grade without having to be promoted to the next grade, reports highlights adding that the system removes the constraint of an employee reaching the ceiling sooner, having to wait for available vacancies in the higher grade and to be promoted in order to progress along the salary scale. “It gives recognition to experience – an employee in lower grade (D4) can earn more than a new recruit in a higher grade (D3),” the Pemandu report emphasizes.



In terms of the salary review, report maintains, should be done at least once in 5 years or specifically when triggered by any one of the following factors; cost of living (inflation) – when it rises beyond 6%; government revenue – when the revenue (% of GDP) increases beyond 40%; GDP growth – when it increases beyond 6%. Currently, there is no process to review the salary, reports highlights that adding that the historical reviews were based on directives from the presidents.


First, in 2002, the then President Festus Mogae set up a salary review commission to recommend an appropriate pay structure for the public service and this was triggered by a court action by the teachers union. In 2007, the presidential public service salaries review commission was appointed to review the conditions of service (including salary scales, allowances and fringe benefits) of the public service. 
The outcome of the review was to award a 15% salary increase across the board and a 10% increase in the public service salaries resulting from the implementation of the 2008 Public Service Act.


In addition, report also suggests the establishment of a permanent remuneration review commission tasked with regulating the remuneration policy and process as practiced in countries such as Kenya, South Africa and Australia. “The initiative above will put the remuneration system on a competitive basis and in line with best practices in other countries. It will enable the public sector to attract, recruit and retain the skills and competencies it need to transform the public sector into a high performing organisation that is ready and capable to further the transformation programmes to achieve Vision 2036,”the report states. 


To sustain the parity with the private sector, it also states that what’s need to be done is right sizing the public service; productivity improvement – increasing government effectiveness and efficiency; and job evaluation (internal equity) which is urgent. Many countries such as Germany, Austria and Korea are redesigning the public-sector salary to be competitive with the market. Belgium and Hungary have narrowed the gap between the public sector and the private sector pay. In the US, many of the States are adjusting the government salaries to be more competitive with the private sector, providing flexibility in starting salaries and offering bonuses.


It is understood that, Pemandu, is shaped by the belief that methods and approaches used in the private sector can be applied successfully to the public sector. As such new employees in the public service will be offered market pay to attract and retain them as is the case with some sections of private sector.  With regard to the allowances, the report also recommends that the allowances should be streamlined: and scarce skills to be terminated and converted to salary based on the threshold. The additional cost to the government, it states is 32 million pula per year.


In terms of allowances, the report explains that they are created to act as a supplement and over time - distort the salary structure. Today, there are 80 allowances in the data base; 39 pertain to the defense, police, prison departments and others (MP’s, village chiefs and so on) and the balance of 41 pertain to the public service.


Even with just 41 types of allowances in Botswana civil service, the report highlights that it is deemed excessive when compared to other countries like Japan which has only 6 types of allowances, Korea 30 and the Gambia 8. It further recommends that there is need to check on their applicability and relevance today and consolidate them to a more manageable level.


In the research leading to the compilation of the report, Pemandu conducted 20 meetings with stakeholders ranging from Ministries to DPSM; Government Implementation Coordination Office (GICO); National Strategy Office (NSO); and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MFED). 


In addition, Unions were also cited as having been contacted being Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU), Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatals Sectors Union (BOFEPUSU), Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) and Trainers & Allied Workers Union (TAWU) among others.


The Malaysian government, in 2009, set up PEMANDU to lead change in the country and to ensure that its national transformation programmes were successfully delivered. It has focused on the key areas where public services and the economy were most in need of reform and has made a positive impact on such issues as crime prevention, reducing levels of corruption, and improving rural infrastructure. Botswana government is therefore recommended to heed the changes and implement them in the country for massive progress in their public service.

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