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MATSAPHA – After a 13-year wait, all government employees in foreign service will finally get a 15 per cent ‘dvuladvula’ increase in their foreign service allowances this month. 

The good news was announced by the new Principal Secretary inthe Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Joel Nhleko, during a workshop held for the ministry’s portfolio committee at Esibayeni Lodge.
The foreign service allowance was last reviewed in 2004 and since then a number of the foreign service staffers have been struggling to make ends meet, especially in countries which have a stronger currency than Swaziland.
Nhleko said the increase was expected to be effected this month as it was approved for the 2017/18 financial year.

Much to the delight of the chairperson of the portfolio committee Princess Ncengencenge, the 15 per cent would apply across the board from head of missions (ambassadors), secretaries and even housekeepers.
This was revealed as the Portfolio Committee members were taken through the proposed Supplementary General Orders for the Swaziland Foreign Service Review known as Chapter E. 
Other provisions of Chapter E were last reviewed in 1978.

Nhleko said the allowances were going to be reviewed at an approved prevailing rate.
Sindi Tembe, who works at the Ministry of Public Service, said the review of the terms and conditions of foreign service staff was long overdue and these included many issues such as salaries, leave days, allowances transport and retirement benefits.

The MPs were informed that the proposed draft had already been sent to all foreign missions and the ambassadors were supposed to add whatever suggestions they had by the end of this month.
Nhleko said their target was to then complete the review by the end of May 2017 in order for the changes to be implemented.
The PS said as a person who had worked in the foreign mission for over 30 years, he knew all the hardships faced by workers in the foreign service. For clarity on the 15 per cent issue, both Mahlangatsha MP Bongani Hlophe and Princess Ncengencenge asked who would get the money and the officials confirmed that it would be applicable to everyone.

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