MASERU-A coalition of public servants’ associations has on Tuesday 22 February petitioned Prime Minister, Moeketsi Majoro, demanding a 25% salary increase for the upcoming 2022/23 financial year to be tabled on Friday.
Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA), Lesotho Public Service Association (LEPSA) Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT), Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU), Lesotho Schools Principal’s Associations (LESPA), Qiloane Nursing Assistants Association (QINUASA), and the Lesotho Nurses Association (LNA) in their joint statement, want the 2022/23 budget estimates to reflect the 24 percent increase instead of the zero percent which they have heard government is planning.
They have given Dr Majoro 24 hours to have addressed their issues through a written response.
Their petition reads:
“We are in receipt of information obtained from good authority that when the budget estimates for the 2022/23 fiscal year are presented, civil servants will embrace themselves for another zero percent (0%) increase repercussions of which cannot be overemphasized,” the joint statement reads.
“There is no iota of doubt that the morale of our members has plummeted to its lowest ebb across the aforementioned sectors. The past three years have been the hardest to us. In the midst of a myriad of challenges, (inter alia, Covid-19) that befell the world; we have had to live with zero increase with the understanding that our country has been economically hit hard too. However, with some government decisions, among others, the M5000 salary increase purported to be fuel for Parliamentarians, the foregoing understanding has become illusive and can no longer hold water.
“Consequently, we have no option but to make the following demand:
- a) That the estimates are corrected to ensure that civil servants salary increase is not less than 25 percent
- b) Or in the alternative, the following be implemented with effect from 1st April 2022:
1) The threshold at which income earners become liable for income tax or Pay As You Earn should be increased or raised to M48 000 per annum with effect from 1 April 2022/23 tax year whose return will be M1300.
2) That the tax credit be increased.
3) That a reduction of income tax to 20 percent and 28 percent respectively be effected on the 1 April 2022. These changes will go a long way to increasing our buying power and the government will subsequently collect more Value Added Tax (VAT).”
Prime Minister’s press attaché Mr Buta Moseme has since confirmed receipt of such letter.
“The letter has been received and is being attended to by the relevant authorities,” Mr Moseme said.
Recently Public Service Minister, Keketso Sello told the National Assembly that any public servants salary increase would depend on a financial assistance the government has requested from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Mr Sello said part of the proposed IMF deal, which would run for three years if approved, would involve possible public servants salary review.
He conceded that public servants last got a pay hike during the 2019/20 financial year due to the country’s poor financial performance caused by declining Southern African Customs Union (SACU) revenue share and the Covid-19 pandemic economic effects.
“Discussions are going on between the government and the IMF to help redress the structural and fundamental economic challenges that the country faces as well as restoring macroeconomic stability,” Mr Sello told parliament.
“The program is expected to run for three years, after which salary review will then commence. This will be subject to the outcome of the structural adjustments programme.”
But the public servants will have none of it, and have demanded a 25 percent salary increase or a reduction of income tax to 20 percent and 28 percent. Another alternative is for the government to increase the income tax threshold to M48 0000 per annum.
On the other hand LAT secretary general, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, could not disclose what their next move would be should government fail to meet their 24 hour deadline.
“What I can only say at this point is that we do not encourage the government to disregard our suggestions on this matter,” Mr Ntsibolane said.