Pay Rise a Godsend

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AS the 2007/8 budget makes liberal provision for a hike in monthly stipends for war veterans, and pension grants go up, low-income earners would benefit from a tax exemption. It must be said the provision for a salary hike for civil servants is a godsend.

In the budget presented two days ago, there is a provision of almost N$400 million from the N$21 billion budget for a salary rise of between 5/6 percent for civil servants.

Last year, the estimated salary bill stood at 6.1 billion on personnel expenditure of which only N$5.4 billion was the actual spending of which around N$600 million was not spent.

For the 2007/8 financial year, total staff expenditure stands at N$6.7 billion inclusive of salary adjustments and improvement of service for civil servants in the various grades.

And this pro-poor budget has several bright spots and it is not as bad if one studies it meticulously and considering that unlike personal budgets, State budgets are a different ball game and nowhere is such a thing as a perfect budget as this, is pure myth.

We say this is commendable and is a plus for a fairly bright budget in that the 80 000 civil servants that in recent months were subjected to a dizzying array of price increases on basic commodities on top of persistent rises on fuel prices ever going up, will pocket relatively more.

This increase should motivate employees in all spheres of the public service to execute their duties tirelessly, with vigor, diligence, commitment, care and thoroughness.

In 2007 and this year, Namibians found themselves being subjected to persistent inflationary pressures because of rising and volatile international oil prices and the frequency at which the price of a whole range of food items increased, have put many in a fix.

It also is noteworthy to say our economy performed relatively well from 2004 to 2007 and this came amid a backdrop of a favourable external environment and sound macro-economic policies. Economic growth was robust, while the external current account balance recorded a healthy surplus and the fiscal position hugely consolidated, but the biggest quiz seems to be how to significantly trim the number of the jobless.

Despite the Government’s praiseworthy achievements, poverty remains widespread and the armies of unemployed people on our streets remain unacceptably too high.

In as much as the Finance Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, deserves praise for formulating a budget that would appease former war veterans who would see a hefty increase in their monthly allowance that go up by N$2??????’??

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