The 2014/2015 national budget is finally presented with an increase of civil servants’ salaries by 24 percent. This shows government has the welfare of its employees at heart, although the increment is far less than what was proposed for ministers and Members of Parliament (MPs).
Civil servants labour more than MPs and ministers, unfortunately they are being considered with only 24 percent. This is total greed that needs to be fought against as the country is struggling to restore the lost economy.
Imagine government ministers getting resources that include hefty allowances, luxury cars, airtime, houses and medical scheme.
Members of Parliament (MPs) were recently salivating for an increment from around K700 thousand to around K1.5 million, which is an increment of over 100 percent.
We may understand that ministers and MPs are different from civil servants in status, but they all have common needs that must be met to survive. They all need houses, food, water, medical care for good health, clothes and possibly entertainment.
Let us also consider the fact that when it comes to personal loans it is the minister and the MP who is given a chance to borrow up to K24 million. But a civil servant at low grade can only get a maximum of his or her three months salary. This means that a civil servant at low grade is exposed to a loan not more than K100 000 depending on salary.
This is another form of oppression to government employees because they are not getting what they deserve if we are to consider the effort they put during their daily work.
The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goddall Gondwe should have made a critical reflection on the salaries of civil servants. He should have drawn a complete understanding on how low salaries are affecting them and government.
Because of this, government operations may be affected in one way or another. Nobody can perform efficiently when he or she is always thinking of what he or she is going to feed his/her children; what he or she is going to wear, where he or her would get money for food, clothes, school fees for children and transport.
The end result of this would be theft for sustainability. This is dangerous as it may force somebody to be engaged in corrupt practices as is the case now in our country. So we need not to be surprised to see a lot of corrupt officers in the government system.
The good news issue is that both President Peter Mtharika and his vice Saulos Chilima are aware civil servants are receiving low salaries. They know government employees are struggling to get their basic amenities.
The two promised in their political campaigns towards May 20 2014 tripartite elections to uplift the welfare of civil servants by increasing their salaries. But the increment in the budget now cannot motivate government employees to work even harder.
I know some people in some quarters will argue that money cannot motivate civil servants to work hard. I say enough money can motivate them because they are working to earn money and if they cannot earn enough, they cannot concentrate.
The most important thing government should do as Parliament is sitting is to change the percentage it intends to give civil servants.