In a recent development, government has instructed accounting officers in various departments to ensure that public servants’ overtime allowances does not exceed 10% of their basic salary. The move to chop overtime allowances is believed to be part of cost cutting measures.
The measures are aimed at containing public spending consistent with the government’s fiscal policy of effective expenditure management and control. According to Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupis, through Circular Savingram No.5 of 2016, dated 31st October, “accounting officers should exercise strict control to ensure that the overall overtime expenditure does not exceed 10% of personal emoluments.”
Indications suggest that the information has cascaded to other government departments as yet another savingram, from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD), Dr. Theophilus Mooko stated to all Directors in the Ministry that employees should stick to the stipulated percentage pertaining to overtime allowance.
It states that, “no employees should be allowed to earn overtime in excess of 10% of their basic salary and the total expenditure on overtime should not exceed 10% of personal emoluments.” According to the Ministry PS, the employees should also “reduce spending by avoiding travelling during weekends save for emergency services” and “reduce expenditure on workshops and seminars.”
As another cost cutting measure, the government official further posits that there should be installation of energy saving devices and water saving devices, and effective attends to leaks promptly in all government offices and institutions.
The circular savingram titled, “measures to contain public spending: 10% overtime” was addressed to all ministry Permanent Secretaries (PS’s), Attorney General (AG), Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Auditor General (AG), Ombudsman, Botswana Public Service College (BPSC), Industrial Court, High Court, National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA), Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), National Assembly, Police, Directorate of Intelligence Security (DIS) and National Strategy Office (NSO) for immediate implementation.
10% overtime constraint boarders on illegality – BOFEPPUSU For their part, Botswana Federation of Public and Private Sector Union’s (BOFEPPUSU) view is that the circular savingram “border on an illegality” in that issues of overtime are “regulated by an act of parliament” which is the Employment Act and as such “we hold that no one including the PSP has the right to put further restrictions on what parliament has regulation on”.
BOFEPPUSU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, maintained that “we put it to the PSP and all other proponents of this 10% regulation of overtime to come out clear and avail the authority upon which they derive such a moratorium that in our view infringe on an Act of parliament.”
According to Rari, they foresee chaos that would be caused by the savingram. He said that if, for example, if teachers were to stick to the moratorium that they should not accrue any overtime pay that would be in access of 10%, “a lot of work would suffer”. For instance, he added that the bulk of the teachers are in C band salary scales of an average pay of about BPW14, 000 and “if we are to stick to the moratorium that they should accrue overtime pay of not more than 10% of the salaries, it would then mean that, in a month, the total money that they could claim would be about P1, 400.00 which translates to only about 3 overtime hours in month.”
This, he said definitely would mean that teachers would on average in a month work overtime in only two days which would leave a great deal of work suffering. “Definitely such uninformed blind decisions would come to be felt when final exams come out,” the BOFEPPUSU SG pointed out.
Rari, who is a trained teacher come unionist, maintained that the result is that teachers would not be able to carry out official duties after hours and supervision of course work projects, remedial lessons, enrichment activities, sporting activities will bear the brunt and would be greatly affected.
He said as a way forward, an affiliate of BOFEPPUSU, Botswana Sectors of Teachers Union (BOSETU) would be releasing a communication to members advising them to cease to be engaged after hours or work overtime in response to this unilateral draconian moratorium which overrides the employment act.
“The repercussions would be felt on the final year results,” he cautioned.
Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Brigadier Peter Magosi, has last week through the Attorney General filed a notice of application to strike out certain portions in former President Lt Gen Ian Khama affidavit due to matters of national security.
In a matter before Judge Komboni J at Gaborone High Court regarding former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s retirement benefits, the Attorney General contended that the former president is not at liberty to disclose confidential information relating to numbers, models and makes and therefore the military or other capabilities of national security air assets.
Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Advocate Dr Sidney Pilane, is not disappointed by the fact that his party has not been included in all opposition parties’ unity talks, but says BMD National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet and decide appropriate approach for negotiations.
Speaking to this publication on Thursday, Pilane, who’s BMD catapulted opposition representation in parliament to 17, the in 2014 polls, views united opposition as the only tool that can dethrone BDP from State power. BMD was however ejected out of Umbrella project in 2017 after some internal bickering hence it is not part of the ongoing talks by UDC together with Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). “Unity is the only way,” he posits
Opposition, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), has this week suffered a major blow as a key witness pulled out in vote rigging claims at the eleventh hour. The key witness, Dikabelo Sekati Selaledi, said he somersaulted on the move as it is now not his considered view that vote rigging occurred in the 2019 General Elections – as the opposition believes – against his previously held view.
The unfortunate development (of Selaledi) necessitated the party to postpone the “people’s court session” which was scheduled for this Saturday in which massive vote rigging “evidence” was to be unearthed to the public on online platforms.