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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Mixed feelings over JPM's salary

It began as an April Fools Day hoax when a word had it that President John Magufuli (pictured) who was on leave in his native Chato district in Geita Region announced his salary yesterday.
“It could be an April Fools Day joke,” remarked a heavyweight opposition politician on hearing that the once tabooed news about presidential salary has been broken right in a morning television talk show. 
He thought he was taken for a ride typical of the day when people feel free to spread lies regardless of the consequences. 
But the politician turned out to be wrong as the President, seemingly out of touch of nuances of the day, had indeed revealed his monthly salary of Sh9.5m with a promise to flash his salary slips to public on his return from leave when there would be no longer an April day to fool the people.However, it was a revelation that would be received with mixed reactions involving both criticisms and pets on his back. 
While some experts said the President was simply trying to send a message to public servants who fetches phenomenal salaries with no apparent reasons, others argued it was an openness worth encouragement in a society where the earning should match the toiling. 
President Magufuli’s declaration came a day after a group of outspoken law makers demanded he broke the traditional presidential culture of silence, to spell out details of his monthly salary in public. 
Dr Benson Bana, head of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), hailed the move suggesting the President to set a defined policy over the system in which workers would be paid in concurrence with respective performance. 
He condemned the adopted pattern in which chief executive officers in the  public sector would pretend to have super brains and allocate themselves huge salaries in a situation where most duties in their entities would be performed by their subordinates.
A political science lecturer at the UDSM, Dr. Bashiru Ally said public servants getting higher salaries should not be perceived as thieves, but  “the important issue should be to establish whether they amount they are paid is relevant to what they are doing.” 
He suggested that the President should push for amendments of some laws aimed at regulating salaries for public servants before fully-fledged involvement in the move. 
“In fact, I never expected that the President was paid such a low salary,”  he said.
He said the important issue to discuss was not the amount that one was paid but a focus on cost benefits analysis over how some were paid higher than others. “Economically we are looking for production efficiency and not political efficiency,” he said.
A Mzumbe University senior economics lecturer, Prof Honest Ngowi, wanted the President to announce his whole package including allowances.
“I don’t believe that the President is paid that low. If it is true he will be the first president to be paid such small amount of salary.”
President Magufuli this week vowed to slash salaries of top executives in public corporations and agencies saying some of them were getting alarmingly huge salaries.
Addressing a public rally in his home town of Chato, President Magufuli said starting from next financial year, no executive of a public institution would be paid more than Sh15m a month.

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