War erupts over Councillors P10M ‘gift’ Salaries
For the past two weeks, District Councils have been issuing out pay cheques to the 500 newly elected councillors who are yet to set foot inside the Council buildings. The decision is estimated to have cost the government a whopping amount of about P10 million.
Newly elected councillors have not yet taken Oath of office or even started work but they have already cost the tax payer about P10 million in salaries which have already been paid to them.
The delays in the business of the Councils are ascribed to the ruling party’s internal bickering over the specially elected members of councils which has divided the party. It is understood that most Members of Parliament are not happy with the appointments as many had advanced some names to be considered but that was in vain. The public is already at a disadvantage since this has paralyzed Councils from commencing any work which depends on Councillors as sitting members of the various portfolio committees.
For the past two weeks, District Councils have been issuing out pay cheques to the new councillors who are yet to set foot inside the Council buildings. The decision is estimated to have cost the government a whopping amount of about P10 million for the 500 nationwide councilors.
The decision has divided the ministry with many seeing it as an unnecessary wastage since the Councillors have not yet earned their money while others argue that there is nothing wrong with the move as it is the duty of the Ministry to provide work.
Recently the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development rubbished a request by outgoing councillors who wanted October salaries and terminal benefits be paid up to the 31st of October 2019 despite having stopped duty on the 22nd of October. The government adopted the no work-no pay approach which they have ignored in today’s scenario.
In a savingram to all district Councils, the Ministry rubbished the demand, “the Ministry is inundated with calls from some councils seeking clarification regarding payment of salaries for Honorable councilors for the month of October 2019. We understand the confusion emanates from the fact that the term of office for councilors comes to an end on the 22nd October 2019 and some members are of the view that their salaries and benefits should be paid up to the 31st October 2019.”
The Ministry said they will calculate all until the day the councillors stopped their duties which is the day before the elections.
“We therefore clarify that salaries and terminal benefits for members of council are paid up to the time of expiry of the political terms of terminations of office. Therefore, as the current term of office expires on the 22 October 2019 salaries and terminal benefits for the term should be paid up to the same time, which is payments should be up to 22nd October 2019.” read a savingram from the Ministry.
The Permanent Secretary said this will exclude salaries and benefits for Mayors and Chairpersons which continue until their successors have been elected and assume office in terms of the Local Government act. The Minister, Eric Molale ignored this publication’s inquiry.