By JEFFREY ELAPA
MEMBERS of parliament yesterday voted to give themselves a hefty 52% pay rise before adjourning for a six-month holiday.
Opposition MPs walked out of the chamber when Public Service Minister Moses Maladina, appointed to the portfolio less than 24 hours earlier, presented the 36th report of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
Parliament adopted the report on voices without debate.
The vote by parliament raised the base salaries from the prime minister down to an ordinary MP by 52.08%.
The base salary of departmental heads, provincial administrators, provincial assembly members, the chief justice, his deputy and judges, the chief magistrate and others classified as appointed leaders also went up by the same percentage.
The rise in their base salary was backdated to last year, and this rise alone will cost taxpayers K33 million, an appropriation not provided for in the 2011 budget approved early this week. The rise in the salary rate was based on a review conducted by Hay Group Consultants in 2008.
Maladina said they had found a huge gap in the remuneration of leaders that had developed since the last review in 2000.
He said the report stated that over the nine-year period, leaders’ base salaries had increased by only 5% compared to 52% in the public sector.
During the same period, official CPI increased by 53%, hence, the real value of leaders’ salaries had fallen by more than half while the public sector average salary level was projected to have increased by not less than 10% between last year and next year, Maladina added.
The rise in the base salaries of MPs came after they recently voted to give themselves a 100% increase in housing and vehicle allowances. A total of 750 people will be affected in the salary rise.
The prime minister’s base salary will rise to K262,762 per annum from the current base salary of K172,770. The speaker’s will rise from K146,645 to K223,029; Deputy PM and opposition leader from K134,518 to K204,585; ministers from K104,814 to K159,408; MPs from K52,595 to K79,991; governors from K36,920 to K56,151; and assembly members from K12,885 to K19,597.
The chief secretary’s salary will rise from K134,515 to K204,585 while the chief justice will be paid K261,601 annually from K172,007.
The report also recommended that the security allowance for the public solicitor and the the public prosecutor be upgraded from K6,000 per annum to K12,000.
It also recommended for the prime minister’s overseas travel allowance to be increased from US$100 per day to US$500, which would also include the speaker of parliament and the chief justice.