The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) says austerity measures should be extended to Members of Parliament’s sitting allowances.
YALI Isaac Mwanza called on President Lungu to direct his Minister of Finance to stop paying sitting allowances to Members of Parliament who are already on full time salary and gratuity as part of the austerity measures to cut down on government expenditure.
Mr Mwanza said his organization finds justification for MPs to continue getting sitting allowances when they are on full time monthly salaries and will also get hefty gratuity.
“At a time when fuels, electricity and fertiliser subsidies have been removed and ordinary citizens expected to sacrifice during this path towards economic recovery, YALI finds no justification to allow Members of Parliament continue to get sitting allowances when they are on full time monthly salaries and also obtain hefty gratuity at the end of their tenure in office.
“We expect President Lungu to take leadership role and show that his administration is committed to standing by its people in bearing the same pain they will face when removal of subsidies on fuels have triggered an increase in prices of essential commodities,” he said.
He further called on the President to direct government departments through Ministers to stop the reckless spending by reducing on unnecessary expenditure.
“Government is known to be spending so much money on sitting allowances for MPs, foreign travel in business classes for government officials and the public service is known to be spending collosal amounts of monies holding workshops and seminars in expensive hotels when all ministries have board rooms available. We also hope government can look into the collosal amounts of monies being spent on giving ministers free fuel while the majority of Zambians have to buy fuel at an expensive price.
“We believe President Lungu’s administration has a lot to show that it is ready to cut down on expenditure and bear the same burden as the people during this time when citizens are being asked to temporary bear the pain of increased prices of commodities and farming inputs. We believe the measure taken on councillors to remain on the sitting allowances as opposed to giving them salaries must be extended to office holders such as MPs who get both the sitting allowances and salaries when they could just get salaries only,” he said.