Kambwili criticises salary increments for constitutional officeholders

CHISHIMBA Kambwili says increasing salaries of constitutional office holders when workers’ wages remain meagre is an irresponsible act.

Featuring on People’s Debate on Pan African Radio today, Kambwili said President Edgar Lungu should be first to sacrifice amidst austerity measures.

He wondered how the President and other constitutional office holders would want an increment when civil servants’ perks had remained static.

Statutory Instruments signed by finance minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, which highlighted President Edgar Lungu’s windfall, also indicated that emoluments for the Vice-President, Speaker of the National Assembly, Deputy Speaker, Chief Whip and leader of the opposition, Second Deputy Speaker, Deputy Chief Whip, Opposition Whip and private members have been revised upwards.

The Vice-President will now get a basic salary of K294,950.00 per annum including a special annual allowance of K74,084.00.

She will also be entitled to a utility allowance of K38, 329.00 per year.

The Speaker will now get K282,007.00 basic salary per annum while his special annual allowance of K65,695.00.

His utility allowance per annum would now stand at K58,329.00

All the salary increments have been backdated to January.

“Very irresponsible action, first and foremost the President must be the first to sacrifice amidst austerity measures. If you have not given salary increments to the rest of the civil servants, why should you give salary increments to the President and constitutional office bearers? Why should you give salary increments to ministers? Do to others what you would like them to do unto you,” Kambwili said.

“Obviously everybody complains about the low salaries but this must be done with a hope of covering everybody. Like I said for five years now, the civil servants have never received any reasonable salary increment, from the time President Sata gave them a 100 per cent salary increment…they have been receiving nine per cent, five per cent and you know that the civil servants’ salaries are low.”
The National Democratic Congress consultant said
civil servants’ salary increments under the current PF government were a joke.

“With what is obtaining on the ground, where do you want teachers to live owing to their low salaries? Where do you want civil servants to live? If they are going to get K3,000 with all these taxes you have introduced, rentals for houses now is about K3,000, teachers take home pay, soldiers, policemen take home pay is about K2,500…what are you talking about? All these things must be commensurate with what’s obtaining on the ground. They have to feed, pay rentals and [pay] all the obligations,” Kambwili said.

He said he had no problem with increments that were inclusive.

Kambwili said selective increments were an act of irresponsibility and would not want to be a part of it whether they benefit him or not.

“If I say I do not want a salary increment, I would be lying but if there has to be an increment, it has to be one which is across the board so that everybody is happy. Not to hear that the President has a salary increment when other category of workers are left out,” said Kambwili. “We all need salary increments but it should not be done in isolation and it should be done equitably that a salary that a teacher, for instance, is earning should be able to meet their standard of living. Our motto as NDC is Ubuntu so if the President and others have increased their salaries without considering salaries for others…that’s is being irresponsible and I can only tell them to reverse it.”

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