Government has deferred salary increment for public servants, which was supposed to come into effect on April 1, 2020. The deferment will last for at least six months.
The decision as explained by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng, was brought about by the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to cause economic uncertainty across the globe.
Government had initially made a commitment to increase the salaries of public servants by 10% and 6% for public officers on scales A and B and C and D respectively, in the current financial year.
“As many public officers may be aware, just a few weeks ago, government renewed her commitment to fulfilling the collective agreement reached with unions, through the Director of Public Service Management, who issued Public Service Management Directive No, of 2020, on the 24th March, 2020, indicating salary increment for Public Service employees effective, 1st April, 2020. However, in the face of new information, we have had to reconsider this position. Consequently, we have been engaging unions with view to agreeing on a DEFERMENT of salary increases for the financial year 2020.21,“ Morwaeng said
“When we agreed to the salary increments, nobody knew that our economy would take the knock that it has now taken. As my colleague, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon, Dr. Thapelo Matsheka, ably explained yesterday, we are faced with an unpleasant competition for limited resources, at a time when the economy is expected to shrink by around 13% and with a budget deficit of about Ten Billion Pula looming,” Morwaeng further explained.
Morwaeng, however, made a commitment to the public service to the effect that the
“Be that as it may, the obvious current economic outlook makes the implementation, under the circumstances, very unrealistic. We have therefore, requested our partners in the workers’ union that we should defer the implementation of this agreement. The said unions are BLLAHWU, Botswana Nurses Union (BONU), BOPEU, BOSETU, BTU, National Amalgamated Local and Central Government and Parastatals Workers Union (TAWU), and Botswana Government Workers Union (BOGOWU).” He stated.
On another note, he asserted that: “After having been appraised on our current economic condition as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and on the direct implication of expected public service salary adjustments, I advised the Director of Public Service Management to convene a meeting of all recognized Trade Unions who are Parties to the Agreement signed on the 3rd February, 2019. Two separate meetings were held - the six (6) Cooperating Unions on the 16th April, 2020, and the other two, being BOGOWU and TAWU, on the 17th April, 2020. This was followed by the meeting of all Presidents of the Public Service Trade Unions with the Minister of Finance & Economic Development and myself, on 23rd and 24th April, 2020”.
Morwaeng further said all public officers affected by the deferment will be owed salary increment arrears by the government, adding that government and public service trade unions will jointly review the status regarding COVID-19 and the national economic recovery at the beginning of the sixth month, in September.