Home » Governance » Outrageous Demands

Councillors here are demanding an outrageous increase in allowances, in excess of 300 percent in order to make up for the long hours they are putting in administering the affairs of the city.

Currently, the councillors are being paid US$210 in allowances every month, which they feel is grossly inadequate.

They would want the figure revised upwards to US$900 for ordinary councillors and US$950 for chairpersons of committees.

Heads of committee are currently earning US$230 in allowances.

The councillors have since put their request in writing to the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development.

The amounts being demanded by councillors, who are not in any way full-time employees of council, would make an average Zimbabwean worker green with envy.

The amounts are far in excess of the poverty datum line for an average family of five, which is about US$500 as of May, according to national statistical agency, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT).

It is also way above what civil servants are taking home monthly.

Most civil servants earn below US$500 per month and have been engaged in endless negotiations with their employer to have their salaries and conditions of service improved.

Government has always pleaded bankruptcy in order to resist pesky pressure from the civil servants whose trump card during negotiations has always been the threat of a crippling industrial action.

Another interesting thing about the demands by the Kwekwe councillors is that no economic fundamentals seem to justify their requests.

For instance, Zimbabwe’s inflation rate is at single digit levels. In fact, prices have been coming down since the country’s economy is in deflation mode.

For example, year-on-year inflation for May was quoted by ZIMSTAT at -2,70 percent, while the month-on-month rate was put at -0,19 percent.

If anything, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya, has been leading calls for price and salary cuts to enable local companies to compete on their home soil in the wake of the influx of cheap imports.

Mangudya has stressed the point that local companies may as well forget about competing beyond the country’s borders if they do not lower their production costs.

What is also not helping the councillors’ argument is that service delivery in Kwekwe, and, indeed, in other municipalities across the country, leaves a lot to be desired.

Kwekwe mayor, Matenda Madzoke, confirmed to the Financial Gazette that they have written to government requesting a review in allowances.

Apparently, the mayor and his deputy will be the biggest winners if the request gets the thumbs up from government.

If approved, the deputy mayor would take home US$1 000 monthly, from US$240, while the mayor will earn US$1 100 per month, from the current US$260.

Government has, however, put tough conditions under which it would approve the increase.

In its response, through a circular written to the city fathers, the Local Government Ministry highlighted that council should fulfil three requirements before the application is considered.

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