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The long awaited review of the controversial Circular No. 2 of 2013, which provides for politicians remuneration has been finalised by the Royal Commission.

The taxpayer may not have got all that it asked for as ‘lidlokolo’ still remains, but we do take note of several attempts towards taking hard decisions in areas that have proven to be a serious drain to national coffers such as travel allowances.

Some members of the previous Cabinet have not been shy to boast about how they built mansions with the travel allowances.  These have now been cut significantly while the mode of travel for ministers has also been downgraded from first class to business class.

We expect nothing less than strict monitoring that will ensure that our ministers are in the office 99 per cent of the time delivering on the Strategic Road map. We have an ailing economy to revive.
Lifestyle audits are now critically important to help avert temptation to corruption, as less pay may invite opportunists seeking to manipulate the system for their selfish gain.

The Commission has also managed to do away with the BMW luxury vehicles that were reportedly troublesome as well as the privilege to walk home with these cars for free; irrespective of whether the ministers had done a good job or not.
A new fleet, in hopefully more durable Toyota Prados, will soon be decorating the Cabinet office parking lot, but the good news is that the ministers will have to purchase them at market value-if they so wish-come end of term.

We also welcome the scrapping of the constituency allowances for the unelected parliamentarians.
Granting them such an allowance was a grave mistake to begin with. The roles of Senators and elected MPs may be similar in enacting laws but are vastly different in day to day deliverables.

Entertainment and housing allowances have also been slashed considerably and the politicians will now be expected to contribute to medical aid.
The ex-gratia payment has also been attached to the performance of the economy at the end of their term.
The politicians’ salaries are now to be delinked from those of the civil servants to put an end to the double benefit enjoyed by the law-makers. These are commendable good decisions.

However, concerns remain around raising the salaries of the chairpersons of boards and emabandla. It negates the gains from the chops and changes.
To fully appreciate the financial benefit of this review, the Finance minister who has already counted a E30 million wage bill saving on the hiring freeze, needs to provide a cost breakdown of the new circular down to the last cent.   

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