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MBABANE – Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini is the only luckiest parliamentarian whose basic salary is up for review.

The rest of the politicians of the 10th Parliament are not covered. This is in terms of the Finance Circular No.2 of 2013.
However, in terms of how his salary should be reviewed as stipulated in the Finance Circular, the prime minister may not get the intended increment.

This is because his current basic salary of E77 197.50 is above that of government leaders from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries with similar sized economies in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country in a year.

Lesotho’s GDP stands at E26 billion, while that of eSwatini is E44.03 billion. Seychelles’ GDP stands at E16.6 billion.
It has been established that the GDPs for the rest of the SADC member states is larger than that of the kingdom – by far. 

How does GDP come in?
According to Circular No.2 of 2013, the prime minister’s salary must be reviewed after every two years, meaning it has to be assessed twice during his tenure of office. This must be done in consideration of similar sized economies in the SADC region in terms of their GDPs.

Reads article 4:1 of the circular: “The basic salary of the prime minister of Swaziland (eSwatini) will be benchmarked against similar sized (by Gross Domestic Product -GDP) SADC countries every two years; and discounted for economic conditions and the affordability of the Swaziland Government.”  It has been established that Seychelles’ President Danny Faure is currently salaried at US$ 6 140 per month (E73 067). This is according to the Seychelles Emoluments Act. In this case, Dlamini’s salary is benchmarked against that of the Head of State because His Majesty the King has delegated his duties to him in Cabinet and Parliament.
In Lesotho, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is paid a basic salary of E52 547.73
A government economist speaking on condition of anonymity said: “Based on the prevailing economic condition of SADC, the prime minister of the country does not deserve an increment. His salary should remain as it is.”
The economist said it was unlikely that government would compare the country’s GDP with South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe to determine the prime minister’s salary because their economises are currently larger. 

The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other economic agencies reveal that the GDP for South Africa stood at E3.8 trillion, while that of Mozambique is E131 billion.
Namibia’s GDP is E122 billion, while that of Zimbabwe is currently rated at E192.7 billion. Botswana and Zambia are also ahead of the country as theirs stand at E181 billion and E232 billion, respectively.
Meanwhile, in terms of the circular, the premier’s salary should have been first reviewed in 2015, while the second appraisal one should have been done last year.

Sources said it was not done last year because government had already increased salaries for all politicians by 32 per cent in 2016.
In July 2016, the basic salary for the premier was increased to E77 197.50. The increment saw a minister’s salary escalating to E67 757.92 per month.
An MP is paid a basic salary of E46 318, which is almost equivalent to the salary paid to the prime minister of Lesotho.

PM’s salary increase implications
 In case the premier’s salary is increased, the implication is that his ex-gratia payment will also go up.
According to the circular, he is currently entitled to ex-gratia payment of E926 370 (his basic salary of E77 197.50 multiplied by 12 months).
An ex-gratia payment is a golden handshake. According to the business dictionary, an ex-gratia pay is a sum of money that is paid when there is no obligation or liability to pay it.
Any increase of Dlamini’s salary will affect other parliamentarians’ salaries because they are linked to his. 
For purposes of Finance Circular No.2 of 2013, parliamentarians refer to the prime minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Presiding Officers, Ministers, Regional Administrators, Deputy Presiding Officers, Members of Parliament, Tindvuna teTinkhundla (Constituency Governors) and Bucopho beTinkhundla (Constituency Councillors).
He is entitled to a variety of benefits, which include unlimited communication allowance, free transport and security, according to the circular. He is also entitled to full medical aid, first class air travel, entitlement to a fully-furnished government house and five household assistants.  Government also pays for the premier’s water, electricity and municipal rates. He is entitled to a non-accountable entertainment allowance of E7 719.75 per month, which is 10 per cent of his basic salary.
Other perks for the premier are a house which shall be built on Swazi Nation Land or title deed property. Upon retirement, the State shall also provide him with a car of the same status as those that are in service. This car shall be owned and maintained by the government beyond his term of office. The official car shall be sold to his estate at depreciated value upon the death of the former prime minister.
He will also be afforded security in line with the risk profile as determined by the national commissioner of police upon retirement. 

king appointed commission
Commenting on the premier’s purported salary review, Percy Simelane, the Government Press Secretary, said His Majesty the King appointed a politicians’ Salary Review Commission, chaired by Phil Mnisi.
He said it was his belief the mission had been accomplished. However, he mentioned that the implementation of the commission’s recommendation would be made public.The commission was expected to complete its task by March 31, 2018.  Its terms of reference are to review the terms and conditions of service for politicians of the 11th parliament, statutory boards and commissions.
The prime minister was out of the country at the time this report was compiled. However, the government press secretary spoke on his behalf.
Thabisile Mlangeni, the acting Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, did not answer telephone calls on Friday and yesterday. Mduduzi Gina, the Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), said the prime minister’s current salary was good as compared to the salaries of the majority of the leaders of SADC governments. He made an example of Ian Khama, the former President of Botswana, who earned E72 416 at the time he stepped down in March 2018. He said Khama was paid a lesser salary despite the fact that Botswana’s GDP was larger than that of the country.
Gina said it would be unfair to have a legal instrument legitimising a salary review for one individual. The secretary general said the review should, at least, cater for all workers in the public service.
He said the prime minister, as chairman of Cabinet, should decline any salary review process done in his name. He said it would be ethically incorrect for the premier to accept the review if it was only intended to benefit him.

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