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Will our MPs trade off development for better pay?

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BAK, May 2, 2009.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    May 2, 2009
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    Saturday May 02, 2009

    Will our MPs trade off development for better pay?

    Young Kimaro, 1st May 2009 @ 10:30,

    DAILY NEWS

    Our Members of Parliament (MPs) are unhappy with their remunerations. Sure they are an indispensable third arm of a democratic government, however imperfect that government. They debate and pass laws which we and they keep sometimes, often not.

    The MPs want their remunerations increased from 7 million shillings to 12 million shillings a month; a daring, dizzying proposal to hike it by 71.5 per cent with a stroke of pen. On what basis can we, citizens, form a judgment whether this is appropriate or not? How can we have a perspective on this?

    An MP’s salary in the US (a senator) is $169,300, $93,300 in UK, $129,000 in Canada, and $18,000 in Tanzania. It is difficult to pin down actual values of total benefits for Members of Parliament (MPs) in the US, UK and Canada because they vary so much depending on the MPs’ situations. But informed guestimate has it that on average total remuneration package comes to about thrice their salaries.

    That puts the US, UK, and Canada at $508,000, $280,000 and $387,000 respectively. In Tanzania, it is reported to be around $63,500. Income levels are different. The, average p.c. PPP in 2008 was $47,000 in the US, $36,300 in UK, $39,600 in Canada and $1,300 in Tanzania. Cost of living varies enormously from country to country.

    Here Tanzania could have an upper hand. With all their high earnings, none of the MPs in the US or UK or Canada can afford a driver with their earnings. They drive themselves. No Tanzanian MP needs to. Not only do MPs in Tanzania have a driver but also a full-time household help, and a gardener who might or might not combine as a nightwatchman.


    Perhaps by using each country’s average per capita purchasing power parity (p.c. PPP) incomes as the yard stick, we can see the relative positions of the MPs in their societies and compare those across countries. Senators in the US earn 11 times the country’s average p.c. PPP; MPs in UK, 8 times; Canada, 10 times; Tanzania, 49 times. If the pay package is hiked to around $109,000, as is proposed, Tanzanian MPs will earn 80 times as much.

    For cabinet ministers, theirs will go up to more than 160 times as much as they reportedly are paid twice over, once as Parliamentarians then a second time as ministers. The question we face is whether our MPs and cabinet ministers bring so much more value-added to their jobs than their counterparts in the US, UK and Canada to justify such compensation compared to the citizens they serve.

    If they did bring such huge value-added, would we be loaded under ministries and the public service so riddled with inefficiencies, indifference, mismanagement and corruption at all levels? MPs’ pay raise proposal is estimated to cost the Treasury 19 billion shillings. But it won’t end there.

    The ultimate cost burden to the country could be a hundred fold more because MPs’ pay increase will trigger the upper echelons of the civil service, the judiciary, the parastatals, the military, educational institutions to all clamour for their pay increase. And since the top echelons are the decision makers who, except for the likes of Wilbrod Slaa and Zitto Kabwe, will stand in their way? It won’t take long for the private sector to join the upward spiral to remain competitive.

    Are the MPs forgetting that when average per capita income for the country grows at only 3 percent (6 percent GDP growth minus 3 percent for population growth), any increases in salaries beyond that will have to be met from a trade offs? What will we trade off? Should we slow down the building up of power supply capacity? Should we slow down tapping clean water sources for the people?

    Should the numbers of new doctors and medical officers to be trained be cut back or new clinics in underserved remote villages put on hold? Should we cut back on student intake in higher learning institutions or do away with student loans? Should we reduce the number of teachers though many of our schools are so lacking of teachers and cut back the money for books and teaching materials? In short, how far will our MPs go to trade off development for better pay?


    As the upper echelons of the society get caught up in the craze of increasing their salaries and benefits, the inequity in income distribution in the country will worsen. The greater masses of people, already so impoverished, will smart at the inequity and iniquity in this hoopla. Thus seeds for social unrest and upheaval may be planted by the very hands of the MPs. We have been fortunate so far, but it would be colossally naive to presume that by some divine design Tanzania is immune to upheavals. That’s what Liberia once firmly believed as had Sierra Leone and Somalia. Wake up, Tanzania!

    ykimaro@yahoo.com
     
  2. bm21

    bm21 JF-Expert Member

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    May 3, 2009
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    I'll be grateful if a hard-talk is held with responsible officials to deliberate the issue and this article be a cornerstone for the discussion. Good job Kimaro. Really, we need change before the country runs bankruptcy.
     
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