On the pronouncement by the PF government that is has increased salaries for civil servants, UPND vice-president for political affairs Dr Canisius Banda has the following to say:
…an increment is a quantity additional to what already exist. When it is effected one ends up with more.
…no one should be fooled.
We are told that the salaries of civil servants have been increased by 5.1% to 28.5%. This is a lie.
…when you started at 1, and then depreciated to -1, an addition of -0.51 or -0.285 does not amount to an increment. At best, it is appeasement. It is a movement towards the past, where you started from.
And when there is insistence in the use of the word increment it all then amounts to cheating, deception.
These addition are not increments. They are cushions. They are not compansatory in their value insofar as they are expected to match inflationary trends over the same period.
Civil servants salaries were last increased two years ago. Over the years, the two years period to the present, a lot of economic drama has happened.
For example, the Kwacha has left us, taxes have risen, fines have increased, prices of essential commodities have gone to the skies.
On the same earnings/salaries of two years ago, civil servants are now spending twice for the same goods and their quantities.
Here is an illustration:
…Jiggies, from 50 ngwee to K1.50
…condom, from K2 to K10
…bread, from K5 to K10
…chicken, from K28 to K52
…mealie meal, from K40 to K90
…cooking oil [..5litres], from K55 to K114
…fuel, K5 to K10
…USD, from K5 to K10
Now, to your salary is added only K208 to K798, and this is called an increment. And you nod?
This is a subtle but classical case of government fraud.
That there is an increment is an illusion. But then there is always someone somewhere who sees these things. And this is why psychiatrists always turn up for work everyday.
It is understandable.
What is true is that the government is broke. Its fiscal status is dire and very poor. Zambia is no longer as creditworthy as before.
Workers countrywide are now poorer than they were two years ago. And they are feeling it! This is a fact.
And being at sea, the government is failing to adequately address this crucial challenge.
What is even worse is that this so called increment will only be effected in January 2016, by which time things would have changed again, by which time the Kwacha might have disappeared; by which time the Kwacha having gotten lost, we might have given up our search for it!
Shops/businesses will close, and prices will rise further between now and January 2016.
…fertiliser, from K220 per bag, it is now K450!
You must be mad!
Study these things, Pilgrim.
See things, clearly…
And take my hand…let’s go!
We have a journey to make.