Circular No.1 Going Nowhere
LUDZIDZINI - The Minister of Finance, Majozi Sithole was yesterday booed when he told the nation at the Sibaya that the removal of the controversial Finance Circular No. 1 of 2010 was not a workable recommendation.
Sithole said only a review of the circular could be implemented as opposed to total removal of the circular. "If the public have a feeling that Circular No.1 was crafted in a manner that enriches politicians, it would rather be reviewed instead of total removal because it contains terms of reference for operation for all politicians and councils in the country," said Sithole much to the chagrin of the people at the Royal Cattle Byre.
Members of the public have repeatedly expressed their desire during the submissions at the Sibaya to have the circular removed, despite being told that it contained terms of reference for all politicians.
As the minister addressed the crowd about the importance of review instead of removal of the circular some shouted: "We want Cir-cular No.1 to be removed in totality, because if we allow for revi-ew, go-vern-ment leaders will again remove only cla-uses that do not have much impact on the lucrative packages they expect to receive when they vacate office".
However, Sithole persisted with his speech despite being disturbed by the murmuring crowd. He further justified the notion that the removal was not the best idea.
He stated that the circular was revised among other reasons to include Bucopho and Constituency Headman (Inkhundla Indvuna) that had not been included in the previous circular, yet they are also elected into office with other members of parliament and politicians. "Following concerns raised by presenters to the effect that politicians would receive lucrative packages at the end of their term of office, this is not true," Sithole said.
Sithole said what made politicians’ gratuity packages seem lucrative was the fact that as politicians they do not serve on a permanent basis in their positions and were not pensionable. He argued that they therefore deserved to receive gratuities that would be at par with services they offered to government during their term of office.
"During Sibaya, there were also recommendations that sitting allowances should be suspended because they are part of Circular No.1 this is not true. Sitting allowances have always been there, even previous circulars provided for sitting allowances to be provided for politicians," he noted.
Tax reduction would affect SD revenue targets - Majozi
LUDZIDZINI - If tax reductions were to be implemented by government, the country would not meet projected revenue collections for the year 2012/2013.According to Minister of Finance Majozi Sithole, government could lose nearly E3 billion expected to be collected from Pay as You Earn (income tax) and Value Added Tax, in conjunction.
Sithole said as a result of not being able to meet the projected revenue collections, the national budget would be immensely affected.
Sithole said tax reduction would affect the budget and national projects that are currently being implemented to help improve the lives of Swazi people for the better, would have to be halted.
"Government expects to collect about E1.5 billion from income tax; therefore if we could cut down on this tax, government projections could be immensely affected during the year 2012/2013," he said, as most people inside the Cattle Byre murmured in disapproval.
On Tuesday, the people submitted that they were being taxed heavily in Swaziland through the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) model and Value added Tax (VAT).
However, Sithole clarified that income tax reductions were not 33 per cent.
‘If workers got 4.5%, so would politicians’
LUDZIDZINI- If 4.5 percent living adjust ments were to be implemented by government politicians would be entitled to them.
This was revealed by Minister of Finance Majozi Sithole during the people’s parliament yesterday.
Sithole advised that government was sceptical about introducing the salary adjustments, because it would become a heavy burden for government, especially in light of the current financial challenges that almost rendered government cash strapped last year.
"If the salaries would be hiked by 4.5 per cent, this would automatically mean that all civil servants would have to get increments," said Sithole.
Minister of Labour and Social Security Lutfo Dlamini also shared the same sentiments.
He said government was aware that the cost of living in Swaziland was high. However, what delayed the increment of salaries were the implications attached to the hike.
"For instance, increasing the salaries of teachers would cost about E240 million, per year. Therefore, before approving the increment of teachers’ salaries, government has to make sure that it will be in a position to pay all employees," said Dlamini.
On Tuesday, 58 percent of speakers at the People’s parliament said government should give teachers the 4.5 per cent cost of living adjustment.
The public also called for the immediate reinstatement of all the fired teachers. Of the 33 speakers who made submissions, 19 supported the teachers demand for a salary increment.
The speakers were of the view that teachers were a valuable resource and key to effective national development.
TV Mtetwa slams Percy Simelane
LUDZIDZINI - Governor Timothy Velabo Mtetwa slammed government spokesperson Percy Simelane for comments he uttered on national radio on Thursday.
Speaking during the phone-in programme Letishisako, Sime-lane said feasible recommendations made during the People’s Parliament would be implemented by government.
However, during a separate interview at the royal residence yesterday Mtetwa said the highly extroverted government ‘mouthpiece’ spoke out of turn and did not have the authority to tell the nation, which of the Sibaya recommendations would be implemented.
"Only the King, as convener of Sibaya, will determine, which recommendations will be implemented or not," said Mtetwa.
Mtetwa is programme director during the ongoing People’s Parliament, which continues today at the royal residence.
When Simelane was contacted yesterday evening for comment, he did not answer calls made to his mobile phone. The last call was made at 10pm.
Disabled people want Parliamentary seats
LUDZIDZINI - There was silence at the Cattle Byre as the disabled community accused government of neglecting them and pleaded with the King to appoint disabled people into Parliament.
This was said by disabled people who made submissions during the People’s Parliament yesterday.
Federation of Disabled People in Swaziland member Makhosini Makhubu noted that had government taken care of disabled people, as it was claiming to do; more disabled people in the country would be in highly decisive and political positions in the country.
Speaking through the aid of an interpreter, Makhubu said: "Swaziland is backwards in terms of empowering disabled people. Actually, the government has neglected us. We do have wheelchairs, but there are very limited pathways in most building across the country, hence, there is a need to amend certain laws that touch upon the rights of disabled people".
Khetsani Shabangu from Maphaleleni also had the disabled community cheering and ululating in appreciation of her submissions, as she reiterated the pain of not being able bodied in Swazi-land.
Shabangu recommended the establishment of a fund that would cater for the needs of disabled people in the country.
"We would like to urge government to establish a fund that will cater for the needs of disabled people in the country, because we are currently being made to run helter-skelter in search of money to pay for our medical expenses," said Shabangu to a rapturous applause from the thousands of people who crammed Sibaya.
- They are defending Circular 1 at all costs for their greedy egoes. In a democratic country where there are democratic leaders, they admit mistakes. That is because they are accountable to the population. In our case, cicular one is justified even though it depletes goverment coffers.
August 11, 2012, 11:06 am, Vincent (email@example.com)
- If the government fails to implements what the people have said then who else are they going to listen. Clearly this government is NOT a government of the people. Poor Swaziland.
August 11, 2012, 11:06 am, Sifiso Nsibande (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Prince Masitsela was right after all. Nothing will change, people went to Lobamba so as to let off steam. NOTHING WILL CHANGE. Swaziland is hopeless.
August 11, 2012, 11:06 am, P.M Matsenjwa (email@example.com)
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