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BOFEPUSU proposes 13.5% salary hike

Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has proposed a 13.5% salary increment for civil servants under its mandate in the 2016/2017 salary negotiations.

In its 2016 salary negotiation proposal submitted to the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) on the 23rd of November 2015, BOFEPUSU states that the increment which will thrust government’s wage bill up to P1.6 billion is affordable as inflation since 2009 has increased by an astounding 43.7% with an 8% annual upsurge.

BOFEPUSU salary increment proposal in possession of WeekendPost also states that at the same time civil servants salaries were adjusted by a total 16% with the last increments done in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively with 10 and 3% each and without any increment in 2009 due to constraints associated with the financial down turn as well as in 2013 due protracted talks at PSBC.

BOFEPUSU says that it has calculated the wage bill of employees falling under the Public Service Act of 2008(PSA) to top the staggering figure of P12 billion and therefore the 13.5% increment will result in a wage bill pegged at P1,6 billion.

It also continues that the negotiations should be done to benefit only employee’s governed by the Public Service Act (2008) and that it wants its increment negotiations to exclude Members of Parliament, Councilors, and Dikgosi since they got up to 40% salary increments, atop a 6% hike that was negotiated for public service employees during the 2015/2016 salary negotiations.

Warns against Economic Stimulus Program (ESP)

BOFEPUSU also gives an ominous warning to government on going against the grain of counsel from Western think tanks, including Brookings Institute which it terms one of the best think tanks in the world as well as the National Development Plan 9(NDP 9) on its careening laser focus on infrastructural development. BOFEPUSU states, “It has been reported that Botswana is one of 10 Sub-Saharan countries that has surpassed the threshold for the domestic bankrolling of infrastructure. The acceptable limit is 5-6% while Botswana earmarks 7.1-8% of its GDP.”

BOFEPUSU also states that it is aware that government intends to draw funds from its foreign reserves to bankroll infrastructure development despite several warnings on its over-commitment on infrastructural development at the negligence of social and economic needs of households.

BOFEPUSU also continues to justify the 13.5% increment by citing that the economic stimulus program which it says will result in money being injected into the economy and it believes that the employees will not be forgotten considering their appreciation of the global financial tumult during the 2008 period and enduring long periods without any increment.

The powerful trade union bloc also says that; the fact that inflation is presently at its lowest in decades, having fallen below Bank of Botswana’s long term objective of 3-6% this actually means that real wages are being left at risk and therefore a significant salary increment will be a much needed shot in the arm for households and consequently stimulate small business sector growth.
BOFEPUSU also discouraged government against its intended reduction of the wage bill through ways that will not see protection of real wages as it is already a dispiriting factor for civil service employees. It goes on to state that it is alive to the fact that its wage increment proposition coincides with a time when there is need for fiscal restraint. It continues to warn that government’s large wage bill is related to the fact that government is a major employer as there is inadequate new employment in the private sector before proposing that efforts to reduce wage bill may not always be achieved by way of freezing wages of workers already employed.

Calls for scaling back spending on Security, Defense and Social Safety Nets

BOFEPUSU further proposes that in terms of overall expenditure a reduction in non-productive expenditure should be put in place such as those used in social safety nets. It goes on to say that to achieve these goals other areas to give less priority in less spending are Security and Defense and that efforts should be put in place to increase employment creation as a sustainable way of poverty eradication, rather that increasing spending on unproductive activities that contribute to a culture of dependency.

BOFEPUSU’s approximations also indicate that the country is on a track of pre-economic crisis growth levels and that government’s efforts to reduce the economy’s dependency on mining is bearing fruit. It also states that government has to bear in mind the escalation in prices of utilities such as electricity, medical aid, postal charges as well as residential rentals all which have recently rocketed skywards as well as the country’s economic system as an unregulated open market economy, exacerbates the problem as price increments for business will always transfer costs to consumers.

Introduction of 10% housing allowance for all civil servants

BOFEPUSU also proposes that in the 2016/2017 financial year, a housing allowance of 10% be introduced for all public service employees as it is no secret that financial institutions take delight and find it easy to advance funding to those with housing allowance. It also proposes that the current housing and upkeep allowance be considered a right to salary to its current beneficiaries and that a real housing allowance linked to salary be introduced. However it also proposes that for officers staying in government accommodation should have their housing allowance be scrapped off while those who do not stay in pool houses be eligible for the housing allowance.

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