27 March 2013

Namibia: Geingob to Table Public Office-Bearers Pay Report

PRIME Minister Hage Geingob is set to table the preliminary first review report of the public office-bearers' (remuneration and benefits) Commission 2012 in the National Assembly soon.

Cabinet granted its approval for the tabling of the report at its 16th Ordinary Meeting held on 12 February this year.

A media statement issued by Cabinet said that in 2005, Parliament passed the Public Office-Bearers' (Remuneration and Benefits) Commission Act, Act No 3 of 2005.

"The Act established the aforementioned commission, whose main function is to recommend remuneration and other benefits of public office-bearers to the President of the country," it said.

Once a report is received from the commission, the President has to make a determination in terms of Section 8 of Act No 3 of 2005.

Last year, the Commission submitted a report recommending that public office-bearers receive a 31% increase to President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

"Subsequently, after taking into account all relevant factors, President Pohamba determined the remuneration of the public office-bearers at 15%," the statement said.

In the interest of transparency, Cabinet has been requested to authorise Prime Minister Hage Geingob to table the report in Parliament.

Announcing his decision to the nation at a media conference held early last month, Pohamba said given the roles, duties and functions of public office-bearers; the financial means of the State; current principles and levels of remuneration obtaining in Namibia; the level of inflation; poverty and unemployment; the basic salaries of public office-bearers will thus be increased by 15%.

He explained that Government, following Independence in 1990, experienced difficulties with the pay structures of both civil servants and public office-bearers.

As a result, the Wages and Salaries Commission (Wascom) was established, after which the said commission made its recommendations in 1995.

Subsequent to the tabling of the Wascom recommendations, the Cabinet Committee on Public Service in 1995 reviewed the Wascom report.

The Cabinet committee endorsed the report in principle, and accepted the then-proposed new pay policy and structure as recommended by the commission.

Pohamba said with regard to civil servants, the commission proposed interim adjustments, while other recommendations affecting civil servants were conditional upon a concrete plan of action to downsize the civil service, increase efficiency and productivity and effect improvements in discipline and standards.

With regards to public office-bearers, the Cabinet committee echoed the views of the commission, and as a result, agreed that the recommended salaries be accepted.

"However, due to prevailing conditions at the time, and more specifically issues of sensitivity, Cabinet decided not to implement the Wascom recommendations with regard to political office-bearers.

"In view of the aforestated, no significant structural changes were made to the salaries and benefits of political office-bearers since 1995, except minor inflationary adjustments following the establishment of the Political Office-Bearers' Commission," Pohamba said.

As a result of these factors, the salaries and benefits of political office-bearers continued to lag behind over the years, compared to the salaries and benefits of civil servants and State-Owned Enterprises.

"It has, therefore, become obvious that any further delay in addressing this issue will further widen the salary and benefits' gap between civil servants and political office-bearers," he added.

Pohamba also commended the commission for the professional work it had done over the years.

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