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    Thursday, 17 March 2016

    Gvt bans council workshops

    The government has directed all urban councils in the country to stop holding 'look to learn visits, workshops and conferences' amid revelations that there is growing abuse of funds to indirectly enrich councillors and officials.
    In the directive which has been dispatched to all mayors and chairpersons of Urban Local authorities, (reference number CX154) Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere revealed that this was necessitated by the fact that service delivery in the country was at its lowest.
    The Minister further struck off any 'Christmas bonuses' and perks which councillors and council officials were awarding themselves.
    The local authorities have further been ordered to halt any increase in councillors' allowances as the Government hopes to review them, awarding in tandem with service delivery.
    "The 2016 budget cycle has revealed that almost all local authorities have unacceptable levels of creditors and that service delivery is not being given the full attention that it is due. 
    "There appears to be a growing abuse of council funds to indirectly enrich councilors and staff.
    "In order to protect public funds and instil a sense of propriety within the institution, I hereby direct in terms of Section 313 of the Urban Councils Act that no council may undertake any 'look and learn visit or any workshop or conference outside their area of jurisdiction without the written consent of the permanent secretary.
    "In addition no out of pocket allowances should be awarded for such events held within council area," reads part of the directive
    Regarding the issue of allowances the ministry noted that no council had the right to effect any increase before their budgets were approved by the Government.
    The minister directed that no councillor, mayor or chairperson will receive any exit package on completion of their tenure.
    Councillors are not entitled to a Christmas bonus or any other allowance without authority of the Minister in writing.
    "Councillors nominated to sit on council owned boards should receive an allowance that is equivalent of half their normal allowance for duties carried at the board," reads the directive.
    The ministry has also approved new allowances and perks for mayors. According to the new structure, Harare mayor will get $1250, his deputy; $840, Harare committee chairperson will get $560 while ordinary councillors will get $550.
    In Bulawayo the mayor will get $1000, deputy mayor; $660, council committee chairperson;  $450 while an ordinary councilor will get $400. In other cities the mayor will get $840, deputy mayor; $550, committee chairperson; $370 and ordinary councilor; $350. Municipal mayors will get $600, deputy mayors; $400, committee chairpersons; $300 and ordinary councilors; $300.
    Town local board mayors will get $560, deputy mayors; $350, committee chairpersons; $300 and councillors $250.
    For Lupane and Chirundu councils the mayors will get $350, deputy mayors $280, committee chairpersons; $240 while ordinary councillors will get $200.
    In Bulawayo, the local authority had clashed with its workers who accuse councilors of continuously rejecting requests for a salary increase while awarding themselves unjustified allowances.
    According to the council's salary schedule contained in a confidential council report, the lowest paid worker , who is grade one get a basic salary of $180 that can be incentivized to notch six where  they can get up to $241. Grade two workers get $255 and their maximum notch is $340. Grade three workers get a basic salary of $360.
    The last time the workers' request was rejected by the councillors who argued council was in no financial position to award them the increment but instead a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), which would see workers get a determined allowance across the board. Last month Bulawayo councillors awarded themselves a monthly allowance of $190 which they said were meant for their medical aid cover.
    - Sunday News.local news

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