Public servants to get pay rise

Civil servants should expect a salary increase this July, the Ministry of Public Service and Labour has promised. 
Minister Anastase Murekezi
Minister Anastase Murekezi

Civil servants should expect a salary increase this July, the Ministry of Public Service and Labour has promised.

Talking to The New Times this week, The Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi, said that the salary increase was necessary, “because there is an erosion of purchasing power ever since [the current] salaries were set in 2006.

“And there is even an inequality in salaries in government institutions that we want to reduce,” he added. The next fiscal year (2012/13) starts in July.

However, the minister explained that employees in institutions like the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), Rwanda Environment Management Authority and others – with a monthly net value of more than Rwf400,000 would not see their salaries increased.

“These will hang on to the salary they have and others that get less will get more,” he revealed.

According to the minister, the increase will also include a fraction at par with an individual employee’s productivity.  This also applies to public institutions that will not get a pay increases.

However, an employee in the RRA, who preferred anonymity, said the plan was likely to be counterproductive since they too have been requesting for an increase “for some time now”.

“If they do it that way, there will still be a problem. Just very recently we discussed several issues with the Minister of Finance and the issue of salaries was predominant. It is an issue that dates as far back as 2006,” the RRA employee noted.

According to the RRA member of staff, a fresh university graduate at the agency takes home a monthly salary of about Rwf 325,000.

Africain Biraboneye, the Executive Secretary of the Confederation of Trade Unions in Rwanda, told The New Times on Friday that they were partly involved in the process.

“We participate in the steering committee, but we are not part of the team that works on the actual figures. But as workers’ representatives, we welcome the move because any effort to increase salaries is appreciated. However the issue is, if it is done; how is it done, and for whom is it done?”

For institutions that already have relatively higher salaries, Biraboneye said it, too, was examined and “the consensus” was that their salary cannot be tampered with, nor can it be increased as more effort must be put in topping up for others, depending on the categories.

“You cannot satisfy all the employees’ needs at once. Nonetheless, if there are efforts to increase salaries for some institutions, there should be no inequalities because the institutions that pay large sums are not many,” he noted.

“What makes me happy is that this plan will benefit the bulk of civil servants, as opposed to the few who will remain where they are”.

MPs, teachers to benefit 

Murekezi said that among those to benefit from a pay rise are Members of Parliament, who are believed to be earning much less compared to most of their counterparts in the region.

“The salaries of the lawmakers will increase, but I cannot tell you by how much, now. I will tell you at the end of this month”.

None of the lawmakers The New Times spoke to on Wednesday were willing to comment about the issue. The monthly remuneration package of a member of the Chamber of Deputies [which is slightly less than that of a Senator] including salary, bonuses and other benefits totals to Rwf 1,371,022.

This includes net salary of Rwf 682,512, accommodation fees of Rwf100,000 and transport facilitation of Rwf 588,510.

Murekezi further noted that like other public servants, teachers will, again, get another 10 percent salary increment, in July.  This will be an additional to the 10 percent increase that grade A2 teachers will pick, this month.

The revised 2011/12 budget includes an adjusted teachers’ salary plan, which integrates teachers’ allowances and regularizes the qualification and experience of a teacher.  At the end of this month, grade A2 teachers will see their take home rise from Rwf 29,304 to Rwf 44,334. This will cost the taxpayer about Rwf1.4 billion.

Based on job position and index value, the new approach of payment of teachers’ salaries is expected to facilitate smooth monitoring of teachers wage bill and minimize the possibility of arrears.

james.karuhanga@newtimes.co.rw

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