Salary windfall for PM, MPs


Bereng Mpaki

PUBLIC Service Minister Semano Sekatle has tabled proposals to increase the salaries of the prime minister, his deputy, legislators as well as heads of key state institutions such as the chief justice.

The proposals tabled in parliament last week are contained in two sets of regulations titled ‘Members of Parliament Salaries (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations 2020’ and ‘Statutory Salaries (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations 2020’.

If approved by the MPs, they will result in salary increments for the prime minister and his deputy which will see them pocket M709 296 and M612 564 on an annual basis respectively.

The prime minister will earn M59 108 per month while his deputy will take home M51 047 monthly. The premier currently earns M56 283 while his deputy pockets M48 416 monthly.

“The regulations also propose a salary increment for MPs to M431 604 per annum. This translates to earnings of M37 633, 67 each per month. MPs currently earn M35 853 each per month.

The Chief Justice will earn M619 788 per annum up from M590 268 while High Court judges and the attorney general will take home M511 968 per annum up from M487 5854.

The Ombudsman, Auditor General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, chairperson of the Public Service Commission and chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission will all pocket M502 272 per annum. They are all currently earning M478 344 or M39 862 monthly.

Members of the Public Service Commission and the Independent Electoral Commission will each earn M451 752 per annum up from M430 236.

Home Affairs Minister Motlalentoa Letsosa said the two amendments are meant to align the salaries of the senior government officials with the 2020/21 financial year budget.

The budget was tabled by current Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro in February this year and only approved in parliament in June this year.

At the time, Dr Majoro was finance minister in the previous Thomas Thabane government which collapsed on 20 May 2020.

“The purpose of regulations is to adjust by five percent annual increase for public servants for the 2020/21 financial year,” Mr Letsosa said.

Asked about the wisdom of increasing the salaries of the senior government officials who were already high earners by Lesotho’s standards, Mr Letsosa said it was up to parliament to decide whether or not the regulations should be passed.

Economist, Kanono Thabane, said it was unreasonable to increase the salaries as this would “worsen the economic imbalance where money is directed towards unproductive instead of productive activities”.

Mr Thabane said for a salary increment to make economic sense, it should only be awarded when an employees’ productivity increased.

“I find it unreasonable that when textile workers demand salary increments, we ask whether their productivity has increased yet the MPs’ productivity is never questioned before they get a pay rise.

“MPs do not work for a full year to deserve a full year salary. On average, they work for about four months annually due to their winter break and Christmas holidays. Yet they still want a salary increase even when their productivity has not improved.

“It is unfair to increase their salaries while their productivity has not increased. Instead of indiscriminately increasing their salaries, MPs should be paid based on the time that they can prove that they have worked because many of them rarely attend sessions,” Mr Thabane said.

He also said the proposal for the salary increments reflected an “insensitivity” to the plight of the poor especially in the light of the Covid-19 induced economic hardships.


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