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‘CAN CENTRAL BANK HELP RESOLVE COLA IMPASSE'?

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EZULWINI – Can the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) play a role in the raging impasse between civil servants and government over CoLA?

CoLA is the cost-of-living adjustment, which is an increment based on inflation that ought to be annually awarded to civil servants to cushion them against inflation. Currently, government is in a stalemate with the public workers, who are demanding 7.85 per cent CoLA for the year 2017/2018. The former has, in the past three year extended zero per cent, citing fiscal challenges. Zweli ‘Zwemart’ Dlamini of the Swaziland News Online posed the question to the Governor of the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE), Majozi Sithole, seeking to establish if the bank had a remedy that could end the impasse.

This was during the presentation of the integrated annual report of the CBE at the Royal Villas Conference Room, Ezulwini yesterday. Dlamini posed the question during the question and answer session. In his question, which had a prelude of a comment wherein he said: “There is the issue that the governor touched on where he alluded to the expenditure that is affecting the fiscal prowess of the kingdom. Is there a role that the CBE could play in alerting government to extend the CoLA and then inform them that thereafter there would be retrenchments as the wage bill is unsustainable?” He noted that the civil servants were seeking CoLA that was unavailable and therefore the CBE could avail a solution to the administration in that they (government) either make an offer to the public servants and thereafter implement retrenchments or, alternatively, offer nothing.

“There should be no hide and seek (between government and civil servants) as that destabilises the country. This nation is quite rich in terms of professionals, however, it’s a pity that prime ministers are Dlaminis and I don’t want to delve into that much,” Dlamini said, much to the amusement of some of the entrepreneurs and banking executives who were present.
The private investigator cum editor further noted that in public forums, the truth was spoken explicitly while during negotiations, it seemed to be quite scarce. “May the CBE advise government on whether to give CoLA to civil servants or not, for the love of this country! They (government) should be open during the negotiations such that if there are 500 civil servants, they can state that they can pay only 200 while retrenching the rest. It’s simple!”

 

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