Council bigwigs bypass salary cap US dollars
  • Basic pay slashed, allowances doubled

  • Government wants situation reversed

us dollarsInnocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Senior officials at various local authorities have retained their mega remuneration despite poor service delivery by reducing their basic pay while doubling allowances.

The fraud has been exposed, leading Government to order a drastic cut to the allowances.
Government in March this year ordered the slashing of mega salaries for parastatals and local authorities’ bosses to a maximum of US$6 000 a month, including allowances.

When the new salaries were announced, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa warned of unspecified action against those who defy the directive.
It emerged yesterday that most of the town clerks’ allowances far outweighed their salaries, raising the ire of the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing which has told local authorities to direct only 30 percent of revenue to salaries.

Addressing mayors, chairpersons and town clerks from various local authorities in Harare yesterday, the ministry’s permanent secretary Engineer George Mlilo said it was unacceptable that senior officials at councils had agreed to comply with the salary cap directive, but circumvented it by increasing their perks.

“In Harare, I have two conflicting statements, the first one says the basic salary for the town clerk is US$14 000, while the overall gross is US$22 000,” he said. “Directors have a basic salary of US$12 600 and are pocketing US$19 900 after perks.

“The other one shows that directors are earning US$4 600 while the full package is US$11 300.”
Eng Mlilo said in Bulawayo, the town clerk was earning a US$5 100 salary but took home US$9 500 after benefits, while directors were earning a salary of US$4 600 and an overall pay of US$8 400.

The Gwanda town clerk gets a salary of US$6 700, but pockets US$16 700 after benefits.
In Gweru, said Eng Mlilo, the town clerk earns a salary of US$2 700, but gets US$6 300 after benefits, while the directors’ salaries are pegged at US$2 500, but get US$5 900 after adding benefits.

Eng Mlilo said the Mutare town clerk was pocketing US$10 200 although he had a salary of US$3 500, while directors earned US$3 000 with an overall of US$5 800.
“These salaries emanated from the time when dollarisation started,” he said. “You did not revisit the salaries to align them with the prevailing situation. You have room to conform. The salaries, when put together with those of ordinary workers, should account for 30 percent of total revenue.

“Most local authorities are getting 150 percent of revenue when services are suffering. Councils are collecting revenue for two months just to pay salaries.”
Eng Mlilo raised concern over the golden handshakes being given to town clerks who resign, saying they should not be given commercial stands as land was a finite resource.

He castigated some councils who were selling land to raise workers’ salaries, adding that some councils had salary arrears extending to one year.
Eng Mlilo urged councils to start servicing roads and provide clean water and sanitation to encourage residents to pay their bills.

Most councils have in the past neglected service delivery, with residents facing problems of water supply, burst sewers and uncollected garbage on the streets.

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