UPND Vice President Dr Canisius Banda has described the new salary increments offered to portions of the public service as fraud.
Dr Banda said the civil servants have been hoodwinked into believing that they have been offered hefty salary hikes when in fact not.
He said reports that salaries of civil servants have been increased by 5.1% to 28.5% are a complete lie.
‘When you started at 1, and then depreciated to -1, an addition of -0.51 or -0.285 does not amount to an increment. At best, it is appeasement. It is a movement towards the past, where you started from,’ Dr Banda.
Dr Banda said the insistence in the use of the word increment amounts to cheating and deception.
‘These additions are not increments. They are cushions. They are not compansatory in their value insofar as they are expected to match inflationary trends over the same period.’
Dr Banda said civil servants salaries were last increased two years ago but that over the years, the two years period to the present, a lot of economic drama has happened.
‘For example, the Kwacha has left us, taxes have risen, fines have increased, prices of essential commodities have gone to the skies. On the same earnings/salaries of two years ago, civil servants are now spending twice for the same goods and their quantities.’
He said this year alone, the Kwacha has depreciated by 47% saying adding only K208 to K798 to your salary cannot be an increment.
Dr Banda said this is a subtle but classical case of government fraud.
‘That there is an increment is an illusion. But then there is always someone somewhere who sees these things. And this is why psychiatrists always turn up for work every day. It is understandable.’
Dr Banda said what is true is that the government is broke and that its fiscal status is dire and poor.
‘Workers countrywide are now poorer than they were two years ago. And they are feeling it! This is a fact. And being at sea, the government is failing to adequately address this crucial challenge,’ he said.
Dr Banda said that what is even worse is that this so called increment will only be effected in January 2016, by which time things would have changed again.
‘By which time the Kwacha might have disappeared; by which time the Kwacha having gotten lost, we might have given up our search for it. Shops and businesses will close, and prices will rise further between now and January 2016. Fertiliser is up from K220 per bag and it is now K450.