Former Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Emmanuel Mwamba has said that he was surprised to hear President Hakainde Hichilema state that no sitting allowances, as was done in the past, will be paid to both Ministers and Permanent Secretaries when they hold a workshop in Lusaka next week.
In a statement posted on social media, Ambassador Mwamba said that sitting allowances were abolished in 2012, and he expected a quick rebuttal or clarification from Cabinet Office.
Mr. Mwamba said that the 2012/13 Policy revised conditions of service and payment of allowances to government officials and it abolished almost all remunerative allowances such as sitting, overtime, lunch, bonuses allowances and consolidated them into a salary.
Below is the full statement
By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba
I was rather surprised to hear His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema state that no sitting allowances, as was done in the past, will be paid to both Ministers and Permanent Secretaries when they hold a workshop in Lusaka next week.
Sitting allowances were abolished in 2012. I expected a quick rebuttal or clarification from Cabinet Office.
It has not.
Remunerative allowances that include sitting allowances were abolished in 2012/13 when the Government implemented the 2010 Pay Policy.
This Policy revised conditions of service and payment of allowances to government officials. It abolished almost all renumerative allowances such as sitting, overtime, lunch, bonuses allowances and consolidated them into a salary.
Sitting allowances were abolished.
However, the Government retained only duty-facilitating allowances. Government still pays duty-facilitating allowances for those officers working outside station, outside town or outside the country.
The government introduced Daily-Subsistence Allowances for officers and officials traveling outside town.
Even in this case, sitting allowances were abolished as government pays for accommodation and food, and a small out-of-pocket allowance.
In the case of the workshop due next week, Government will NOT pay any allowances, including sitting allowances to Ministers and Permanent Secretaries based in Lusaka.
However, it will pay duty-facilitating allowances to those Provincial Ministers and Provincial Permanent Secretaries from outside Lusaka to allow and facilitate their travel, and their accommodation.
In fact, for fuel, imprest was abolished and a standard formula was devised to pay based on number of kilometers to be covered. The Minister or PS from Kabwe, Central Province will not receive the same fuel amount as the PS coming from Solwezi or Kasama.
So to be clear, no Minister or Permanent Secretaries based in Lusaka received or were paid allowances for their meetings, workshop, ad-hoc, committees and other such functions being held at Mulungushi International Conference or Government Complex which form part of their normal daily duties in Lusaka.
However, every government, including that of President Hichilema has bemoaned the abuse of public resources using unnecessary workshops or deliberately moving such meetings and workshops to places like Livingstone so that officials could benefit from stipends.
This must be curtailed and justification is shown why such Meetings should take place outside town or in person.
In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that nearly all meetings including Cabinet Meetings and one due to take place next week can take occur virtually and this can save huge government resources.