Dec 30, 2008, 6:05 AM
Reform measures in civil service salaries and allowances could not have come at a better time, only that such reform should not be restricted to the civil service but made to extend to the public service as a whole. Reforms that have position bearing on the civil service would also have benefits to the public service as the two institutions cannot be separated therefore the reform programme, if it is to be complete, must also take into consideration the performance and remunerations in our parastatal organizations as well. This is because the employees of both institutions are affected by the same market prices. For both sets of employees the needs of families, mainly market expenses, would run over the D300 mark at least on a daily basis. What does this add up to a month? This must then in turn be added NAWEC, clothing, school fees, transport and school lunch costs. One has to wonder how a public servant can manage all of these expenses without running into considerable debt from month to month. It is therefore incumbent on government to look for solution for the domestic as well as the public good.
The draft reform document currently under consideration should therefore take these specificities into account. In that light, it is not enough to just declare a 20% increase for example without providing a good basis for that increase as far as the income earner and breadwinners are concerned. Such an increase then becomes merely arbitrary. As far as income earners are concerned increases should be adequate and properly reflect prevailing market realities and living conditions; a complete socio-economic scenario therefore.
The draft document should hold out substantive hope for the poor and underprivileged. Let it not be what some are already beginning to call a mere dream from some ever air-conditioned policy markers concrete steps. Real solutions are needed for socio-economic development.