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MPs demand 100 percent salary hike

Pascalinah Kabi

LESOTHO’S parliamentarians, already among the best paid people in the Kingdom, are demanding a whopping 100 percent salary increment, the Lesotho Times has established.

Their demand emerged this week as Prime Minister Thomas Thabane ordered Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro to establish an inter-ministerial team to consider a revised salary structure for the legislators.

If the government accedes to their demands, the legislators’ gross monthly salary would rise to M74 000 each up from the current M37 000 pay cheque. An average factory worker in Lesotho barely earns M2000 a month.

The parliamentarians, who are also lavished with a number of perks, are also demanding that they be eligible for pensions after serving for only two years in the House. They are presently only eligible for pensions after serving two five-year terms.

Early this week, Dr Thabane told the National Assembly that he had tasked Dr Majoro to “establish a body made up of various ministers to implement the proposed revised parliamentarians’ salaries and incentives structure”.

Without elaborating on the issue, Dr Thabane said that “it was obvious who the inter-ministerial body will be made up of and to whom they will report”.

Some lawmakers who spoke to the Lesotho Times on condition of anonymity confirmed that they were engaged in talks with the government over their salaries which they want to be doubled.

“There have been negotiations between us and the government through the Deputy Prime Minister (Monyane Moleleki) over salary increments. Our entry point in these negotiations is a 100 percent increment,” one legislator said this week.

Another legislator said the negotiations have been ongoing since March this year “when it became evident that the electorate was not happy with the M500 000 interest-free loans parliamentarians enjoy at the beginning of each term”.

“The majority of legislators are willing to forego the M500 000 loans but for that to happen, our salaries must be doubled.

“Without the interest-free loans, we will need a decent living wage to take care of ourselves and to enable us to continue assisting people in our constituencies,” the source said.

Another legislator said that in addition to the massive salary hike, the lawmakers also want the regulations amended so that they are eligible for pensions after only two years instead of two terms in parliament.

“As things stand, parliamentarians only qualify for pensions after serving two terms in the National Assembly but we are pushing to qualify for pensions after two years,” the source said.

The source added that legislators from the governing and opposition parties were working together to ensure that their salary demands were met.

Contacted for comment, the National Assembly Chief Whip, Likopo Mahase, yesterday told this publication that the matter would only be discussed with the media after the proposed revised salary structure has been tabled in the National Assembly.

“Discussing the matter with you will be criminal because that would be premature publication of the business of the parliament.  Just be satisfied with what you got from the speech of the Prime Minister,” Mr Mahase said.

On his part, Dr Majoro said: “as far as I know and I don’t always know everything, there is no revised legislators’ salaries and incentives structure at the moment”.

“In any institutional setting, there are always murmurs for increment but this does not mean that there is any revised remuneration,” Dr Majoro added.

The salary demands come against the background of complaints by the legislators that they do not earn enough to cushion themselves against the high cost of living as well as to fund their various activities aimed at uplifting the lives of people in their constituencies.

Their demands have however, previously attracted a backlash from the public who felt that the legislators could easily afford a decent living with annual salaries of up to M469 884, M150 in daily sitting allowances and M500 000 in interest-free loans.

Early this year, public pressure forced the government to backtrack on its March decision to include the legislators among the groups of locals who were eligible to bid to lease vehicles for the government fleet.

Besides the legislators, the government had resolved to procure vehicles for its fleet from taxi operators, disabled people and youth and women’s groups.

Dr Majoro had initially said the decision to include parliamentarians was made after realising that despite all the benefits the legislators enjoyed, they were burdened with huge financial tasks in their constituencies.

He was supported by Water Affairs Minister Samonyane Ntsekele who said that, “Mostly their (legislators’) benefits are spent on addressing different constituency needs and they need to be met half way in order to carry out their duties as parliamentarians well”.

However, fierce public criticism forced the government to remove the legislators from the list of locals who were eligible to supply the government with vehicles.

A 100 percent salary increase, if implemented, would be seen as highly extravagant in a country, where a huge chunk of the population subsist below the poverty datum threshold

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Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa. Contact us today: News: editor@lestimes.co.ls Advertising: marketing@lestimes.co.ls Telephone: +266 2231 5356

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  1. I simply dare this gov to pass this ridiculous bill. What on hell are the MPs doing in the constituencies? Please we r all ears. Can every MP come out in public and articulate what they did with the M500,000 Loan and the already high salary they r earning monthly? Please i challenge any MP to publicly declare what they do with the monies they get from Gov. This is just insane. I dont know why our leaders keep saying we r broke when clearly they know we arent. Can you meat all other salary increaments currently required like teachers police and the likes then tell us if there is still any money left. Right now you do not even deserve the salary that your earning you have not done nothing to deserve a penny from our taxes. Ke makalaetse opposition but then again ke Macongress chelete ho bona ke setlhare ba tlo thula tuu but when it comes to important issues tsa Wool&Mohair tsa ho protect market oa ron lerata la bona o tla le utloa. RONA BA KHETHI RE UTLOILOE HA BOHLOKO RE LISONO

  2. Che le re hlomphe re le Basotho ba le khethileng.

    “If the government accedes to their demands, the legislators’ gross monthly salary would rise to M74 000 each up from the current M37 000 pay cheque. An average factory worker in Lesotho barely earns M2000 a month.” as stated above…Now, if you already earn M37,000.00 yet you don’t even have a master’s degree. U re rona ba nang le tsona re sale re khola M21,000.00? On top of that, this government is busy taking loans which address ‘Administration’ related issues. When will you start thinking ahead? When will you start taking loans to invest in strengthening productions by Basotho?

    “The parliamentarians, who are also lavished with a number of perks, are also demanding that they be eligible for pensions after serving for only two years in the House. They are presently only eligible for pensions after serving two five-year terms.” as stated above…Ntate? You want to be eligible for pensions after serving, okay because you don’t serve us I’ll have to change that. So you want to be eligible for a pension after ‘swindling’ funds from my PAYE money? Not even Nelson Mandela or Leabuoa Jonothan was that privileged so who do you think you are, Jesus Christ? Take a raincheck. He is in heaven or in some paster’s imagination.

  3. Mehlolo ruri, are this people for real? Chehe bale useless tje they want to live on the backs of hardworking taxpayer’s money, ba re tloaela!

  4. can these people for once act like they care for us and give us the services we deserve instead of making themselves more rich.

  5. If that could come into reality , I swear I could throw all my IEC documents away and never shall i queue anywhere with an intention to elect any person in my life. Basotho ba o tla lipelo ke ho futsaneha ebe bapolotiki bona ba ithuisa ka likhafa tsa bona ba sa ba etsetse letho khidik! Nna Lebakeng mona kapa Qacha mona ha ke so utloe kapa ho bona project le e lengoe ea mokhethoa e le ho thusana ho ntshetsa sechaba se mokhethileng pele. Ha hona taba hee hoba ke salary ya hae empa ha esere ha ba batla nyollelo ebe ba re ba thusa sechaba ka meputso ea bona ke leshano le letala! Nxa……..

  6. che botho ke ntho e thata bana ba batho ba tsohang hoseng ba ba sebetsa ka thata ba sitoa le le ho fuoa ena eo eseng le pocket money ea ngoana le paramente ,bahlanka bana bao motho a sebeletsoang ke bona ele where do i sign u mofa 3% empa nako e eatla motho utla tsamaea pela lieta

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