By Patience Nyangove
THE majority of the country’s 14 regional councils are facing the prospect of being unable to pay their employees’ salaries next week, after the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development only allocated N$1.5 million to each regional council for their June wage bill.
This money is not enough as each regional council requires well in excess of N$2 million per month, for salaries alone.
A circular sent on 14 June, and which has since come into the possession of Confidente, shows that Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, Nghidinua Daniel, has informed all chief regional officers that they will only be receiving N$1.5 million each for their June salaries.
The ministry blamed a funding allocation from Treasury for its predicament.
“Regional councils are hereby informed that the ministry received a reduced allocation from Treasury for the month of June 2017. Based on this allocation, the ministry will only allocate N$1.5 million to each regional council, to cater for remuneration. Please adjust your accountability report accordingly,” Daniel wrote.
Chief regional officers, Confidente spoke this week bemoaned the one-size-fits-all approach.
They said the N$1.5 million each, allocated to the 14 regional councils, was not going to be enough for salaries, as some regions are bigger than others, and therefore have a huge staff compliment.
Acting //Karas Chief Regional Officer, Agustinus Ucham, said the N$1.5 million was not enough, as the council’s monthly wage bill stands at N$2.9 million.
“We received the letter last week. We need N$2.9 million a month for salaries, and we still have to source the shortfall from somewhere. The money they have given us is not enough to cover salaries, and we are in the process of writing to the permanent secretary to inform him of that,” Ucham said.
Erongo Chief Regional Officer, Nathalia /Goagoses, said that although the N$1.5 million from the ministry was not adequate to cater for the salaries of its employees, the council may look into taking from its savings, to supplement the money.
“We are still discussing the situation. We understand the current situation our government is going through, and so we are currently busy consulting with the permanent secretary, as well as our finance department, to establish what the shortfall is, so we can cater for it,” /Goagoses said.
“If we try everything else and fail, that’s when we will go back to the line ministry, and say that we have done all we could, but could not get enough money.
“We have a prudent financial system in Erongo, and my team will tell me later in the day whether we can get money from our savings, and add to what we will get.
“For now I am not panicking. This time now calls for serious prudent financial savings,” /Goagoses said.
Oshikoto Chief Regional Officer, Frans Enkali, said they had since written to Daniel, informing him that the N$1.5 million allocated to the council will not be enough for salaries.
“Although the letter sent to all the regions contains the same amount, the regions are not the same. They don’t have the same constituencies, and this one-size-fits-all approach is not going to address the problem. We have written to the permanent secretary, informing him that the salaries are higher than the proposed N$1.5 million, so that they can see what they can do, but I am sure we will be able to cope,” Enkali said.
Ohangwena Chief Regional Officer, Filippus Shilongo, said the council’s wage bill is over N$2 million, and so the N$1.5 million from the ministry was not enough to cater for salaries.
“Regions are not the same. In Ohangwena, we have 12 constituencies. We have to pay salaries for councillors, their support staff and council employees. Our wage bill includes benefits as well, and it’s in excess of N$2 million. It will be a challenge to cater for everyone. The wage bill is far beyond (the N$1.5 million), and it’s a little bit of a challenge. We still have to discuss internally, where to get a subsidy from. “We have to consult our internal and external structures. However, I can assure our staff and the public that we will honour our obligations,” Shilongo said.
Daniel said on Tuesday that the ministry is continuing to engage with the Ministry of Finance, regarding the shortfall.
“The funds distribution that has thus been communicated (to the regional councils), is based on the funds on our Treasury Authorisation Warrant (TAW), but that is not the final allocation, as I speak the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development and the Ministry of Finance are engaging and working out a solution.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015