…Samia reinstates mandatory annual increment
…Announce raise in workers’ allowances
…Pledges promotion acceleration
…Touts major improvements in workers welfare
PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has announced on Monday a number of incentives to public servants, key among them the reinstatement of the mandatory annual increment, promotions and a raise in the workers’ allowances.
Dr Samia made the announcement during the commemoration of May Day celebrated at national level at the Jamhuri Stadium in Morogoro Region, assuring public and private sector workers of the government’s commitment to ensure their working environment and welfare are massively improved.
She observed that last year, the government increased public servant’s salaries by 23.3 per cent but not every worker benefited adequately with the rate. The goal, she said, was to boost those with minimum wages and others were touched as per the rise in percentages.
On the other hand, she said the increment could not touch those with bigger salaries, citing herself as a good example.
Dr Samia said that those with bigger salaries, however, benefited from improved allowances.
She noted that when the government was approving the increment, the budget had already been endorsed; therefore, some institutions were left out of an improved allowance package.
The President assured that a lot will be reaped in the coming financial year, with a considerable rise in allowances.
“Aside from increasing the allowances, the government aims to continue carrying out promotion accelerations and re-categorisation of workers. The biggest of all is to reinstate mandatory annual increments, which had stalled for a long time…payment will be effective from this year,” said Dr Samia amid cheers from thousands of workers who packed the Jamhuri stadium.
She added: “Much better things are underway but I am not going to be making any announcement on what we have planned…everything is under control.”
The Head of State insisted the strength and resilience of the nation was dependent on its workforce, which was doing a very good job on building the nation, stressing that the government values all efforts invested by the country’s workers.
Responding to Trade Unions Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) requests, President Samia pointed out that this year’s theme “Mishahara bora na ajira za staha ni nguzo kwa maendeleo ya wafanyakazi na wakati ni sasa” aims to improve the lives of workers in all its vastness.
She, however, came up with an additional theme, which states that ‘Uadilifu na weledi kazini ndiyo chimbuko la maisha bora kwa wafanyakazi’, indicating that aside from demanding better welfare, emphasis should be placed on integrity and professionalism as key to creating better lives for workers.
She said in the previous year, the government had resorted to implement collective bargaining agreements for public institutions, endorsed several institutional schemes of service and collaboratively reviewed various laws among others.
The areas include formation of 40 worker’s councils, timely settlement of pensions for pensioners and workers whose certificate possessed faults and promotions among others.
Also, she said the government effected a reduction of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) from nine per cent to eight per cent and salary increase, noting that the resolutions have been implemented by 95 per cent as the rest was on going.
She acknowledged the major contribution made by workers from both the public and private sector in the production sector, which has led to growth of the country’s economy.
President Samia cited recent reports from the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), which applauded Tanzania for boosting its economy as well as good financial and expenditure policies, maintaining that such, is owed to the contribution of workers.
She urged the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Ministry of State, Prime Minister’s Office – Labour, Youth, Employment and Persons with Disabilities and TUCTA, to assess worker’s benefits, which need to be taxed and non-taxed.
Employees and working tool shortage
President Samia admitted that the government is quite aware of the problem, noting that in the financial year 2022/2023 major efforts have been made to strengthen the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OSHA) by hiring 18 staff and procuring 13 vehicles.
And, as for the Labour Unit, the government has procured 17 vehicles and they were in the process of employing more staff.
Protocol ratification and labour law review
The President stated that the government has prepared the National Health and Safety Policy of 2010, introduced OSHA which is responsible to govern the safety of workers as well as equipping the authority to execute its roles.
Also, establishment of Labour, Economic and Social Council (LESCO), Workers Compensation Fund (WCF) and formation of Safety and Health Committees at workplace, all these are in accordance with the requirements of various labour protocols.
She stressed that the government is very keen on issues of its workers safety as well as investing in promoting the same.
Besides, she said, the government was continuing to finalise the procedures of other protocols in line with the values of the country.
President Samia confirmed the existence of salary arrears for the staff in districts and regional designated hospitals, pledging to settle payment of their claims after completing the authentication process.
Similarly, she said the government was thinking of embarking on a service-oriented contract with the hospitals only on special tasks to be payable by them.
President Samia said that the government has taken the suggestion of teachers’ allowances onboard, indicating that teachers and health workers account for a large chunk of the country’s workforce, hence, any decision relating to their welfare has to be dealt with a lot of care.
Earlier, the Secretary General of TUCTA Mr Hery Mkunda applauded the President’s efforts for continuing opening up the country, a factor that has led to more trade and investment opportunities, thereby creating jobs and among other income generating opportunities for the people.
He expressed TUCTA’s commitment to ensure their advocating for efficiency and productivity among all sectors for national development and boost in the economy.
“We appreciate you responding to our request by increasing the salary by 23.3 per cent for minimum wages, while other levels were slightly touched…it’s our humble request that this time the increment touches other groups,” he said.
Mr Mkunda recognised the government’s efforts to increase allowances, carry out promotions and increase the incomes of workers.
In obtaining decent jobs, he requested the government to support the improvement of the Labour Unit, which is under the Prime Minister’s Office currently facing a shortage of staff and working tools.
On salary arrears for the staff at district and regional designated hospitals, he appealed to the president to consider the workers who for a long time have not been paid.
The Secretary General also requested the president to think of considering a tax waiver in allowances and benefits.