WINDHOEK - The Public Office-Bearers Remuneration and Benefits Commission (POBC) has revealed that due to the challenging economic conditions experienced in the country, political office bearers will not receive any salary increment until the economy shows a sign of recovery.
This was revealed by POBC newly appointed chairperson Judge Sylvester Mainga when the commission paid a courtesy visit to President Hage Geingob at State House on Wednesday to officially introduce themselves since their appointment on July 1 this year.
The last time the political office bearers received a salary hike including Geingob was in 2015 when POBC recommended that politicians increase the pay and perks by 6 percent.
A government gazette filed at the justice ministry at the time showed that the President gave the green light for the wage increases in 2016, which became effective as of 1 April 2016.
The proclamation was signed by Geingob on 11 April 2016.
The President’s decision followed a 2015 POBC recommendation to increase the pay and perks of politicians by 6 percent.
Mainga informed Geingob that their visit is to follow up on recommendations that the President approved which has been stalled due to financial challenges facing the country.
However, Mainga could not go into details on the said recommendations but noted there will be no salary hikes for political office bearers.
“This is a new commission which was appointed on July 1. We just came to introduce and thank the President for the appointment. We did not touch much on the recommendations. We just wanted to check with him given the financial position we find ourselves in. In a situation we find ourselves in, it is difficult to make any recommendations for salary increment for all office bearers for now. I don’t know for long, maybe the economy will turn around some day,” said Mainga.
Mainga said the President concurred with the commission that the economic situation does not look good, hence they cannot make any salary adjustments for political office bearers.
Further, he said government is under pressure to scale down the salary bill which is taking up about 80 percent of the operational budget.
Over the years, the POBC held the view that Namibian politicians are lagging behind in terms of remunerations.
In this regard, Mainga said this has to be determined when one do a benchmark with other SADC countries in terms of political office bearers’ remuneration.
“One has to do an investigation. Like I said, I am a new person in the job. I will need to look at all the papers before I can make a statement like that one,” he responded.
The POBC is responsible for making recommendations on the remuneration and conditions of services of Public Office Bearers.
Under the powers vested in the President by section 8 of the Public Office-Bearers (Remuneration and Benefits) Commission Act (No. 3 of 2005), after considering the recommendations made by the Public Office-Bearers Commission in terms of section 4 of that Act, the President determine the remuneration and benefits of the public office-bearers whose designations appear in Column 2, basic salaries appear in Column 3, benefits appear in Columns 4 to 7 and their total remuneration appears in Column 8 of Schedule 1.