Sunday, 29 September 2019

COUNCILLORS ALLOWANCES HIKED


THE Government has approved a 50 percent allowances increase for councillors and mayors in the country and further awarded each councillor a privilege of a residential and industrial stand during their tenure in office.

The new cocktail of allowances and perks were announced by Acting Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Permanent Secretary Colonel (Rtd) Joseph Mhakayakora in a circular dated 9 September.

The new allowances and perks reportedly came after deliberations between the Ministry and the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe and the Association of Rural District Councils.

According to the circular, in Harare, the mayor’s allowance has been increased from $1 250 to $1 775, Deputy Mayor from $840 to $1 350, committee chairpersons; from $560 to $950 while councillors’ perks have been raised from $550 to $930.

In Bulawayo, the ministry has approved that the mayor gets an allowance of $1 475 up from $1 000, deputy mayor; $1 400 up from $660, committee chairpersons; $900 up from $450 while councillors receive $780 up from $400. In other cities, mayors’ allowances have been increased from $840 to $1 325, deputy mayor from; $550 to $1 050, committee chairpersons; from $370 to $850 and councillors; from $250 to $730.

For municipalities, the ministry has approved that mayors get; $1 050 up from $600; deputy mayors; $890 up from $400, committee chairpersons; $830 up from $360 while councillors will get $780 up from $300. For town councils and local boards, the chairpersons now get $950 up from $560, deputy chairpersons; $850 up from $350, committee chairpersons; $790 up from $300 and councillors; $780 up from $250.

For Lupane and Chirundu the chairperson now gets; $850 up from $350, the deputy chairperson; $730 up from $280, committee chairpersons; $740 up from $240 while councillors will get $730 up from $200. For rural district councils, chairpersons will now get $900 up from $230, deputy chairpersons; $730 up from $170, committee chairpersons; $770 up from $160 and councillors now get $730 up from $140.

For travel and subsistence allowances the ministry announced that out of pocket allowance be increased from $10 to $30 per 24-hour period, breakfast; from $10 to $30, lunch; from $20 to $50 and dinner allowance to be increased from $25 to $60, while unapproved overnight accommodation is now pegged at $100.

“To facilitate serving councillors to live in a dignified manner, the Honourable Minister has granted permission to a councillor who does not have a residence within his or her ward, to be allocated a single residential stand, in their lifetime, within that ward . . . The stand is to be offered to the councillor at a discount of 40 percent of the normal value. To facilitate serving councillors to have a source of income, other than council, the Honourable Minister has granted permission to a councillor to be allocated a single business or industrial stand in their lifetime. The stand is to be offered to the councillor on a lease with the option to purchase,” reads part of the circular.

In both cases title deeds of the stands will be offered after the completion of construction and the councillors are not allowed to sell or cede the lease during their terms in office.

Rtd Col Mhakayakora further warned councillors that the awarding of the stands was a privilege and not an entitlement, just to ensure that councillors live in a dignified manner.

“The stands acquired in terms of this circular are not for profit or aggrandisement. Where relatives of the councillor wish to acquire stands, they should follow the normal council procedures,” reads the circular.

The ministry also approved that the councillors get free parking space and a grave during their tenure in office. On the purchasing of electronic equipment, the ministry said if a council wishes to do that, it should be done with the approval of the ministry.

“The application to the minister must contain justification for the purchase, the budget line and amount budgeted for same, the type of equipment and justification, the costs and conditions attached to the use of the equipment. The minister has also put restrictions on the holding of workshops, seminars, trainings and similar events outside of the council jurisdiction unless authority to hold the function at an alternative venue has been sanctioned by the Permanent Secretary,” reads the circular.

In April, UCAZ came up with a position paper which they forwarded to the Ministry at an Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe consultation meeting on Councillors Conditions of Service which was held at the Bulawayo Council chambers. Sunday News

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