opinionBy William Sunday D Tor
The news of austerity measures has become a public debate among the Public Employees these days, especially the news of salaries cuts which came in annex 1, Chapter 21, the Salaries as follows: item 2110, 50% cut of all housing allowances.
Item 2115, cut job specific allowances except for staff of Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted ahead who will be paid on the old liaison offices. Item 2135 cut all overtimes and incentives. This piece of news has worried most of them not knowing the consequences of the decision on their economic and social situations after they had been comforted before that the austerity measures may not affect the public servants wages.
Before taking austerity measures socio-economical researches should have been conducted to be acquainted with the effect of its implementation on public servants, and the poorest people of this nation.
The research should have shown the perception of many working class in regard of cutting down of incentives and allowances they receive in their place of work. For example, if salary is reduced, how will a worker compensate the loss of income of the family? Finding would have helped in taking right and wise decision to avoid its negative impact on public service employees.
The Public service employees are the back bone of the nation building and production and the wages paid to them is for them to produce for benefit of the whole population, and therefore, for each of them to produce, each must have a place where she/he must reside with her/his family.
Based on public servant regulations, grade 5 receives housing allowance amounting to SSP 900 a month, this amount can only rent a small house with two rooms and poor toilet without fence in the poorest residential areas of Juba town without water and electricity, and where security services cannot be accessed. If grade 5 receives SSP 900 a month which is going to be reduced to SSP 450 a month, then how much does unclassified staff of lower grade receive as a housing allowance?
The housing problem is the most important problem facing the public servants working in the Capital of the republic of South Sudan, as a result of reluctance of the Central Equatoria State Government to distribute land to non-citizens of the state, where they are forced to rent from those citizens who possess lands and houses in Juba and who charge as they like due to absence of law that regulates renting rates and fees. If half of above amount is cut, where will that public servant reside with her/his family? Such as question should be raised by those who had planned to cut down housing allowance or else, the government can rent the house for such an employee.
Furthermore, the current salaries remained somehow helpful as a result of specific allowances added to them to meet the demand of the market that has been rising high throughout the time. Therefore cutting down of the specific allowances from salaries shall weaken it and leave the public servants in worse condition which in return shall have negative impact on the family life and then to the society.