Tuesday, 28 April 2020

HEFTY ALLOWANCES FOR HEALTH SERVICES BOARD BIGWIGS


HEALTH Services Board (HSB) bigwigs have controversially awarded themselves hefty additional allowances, at a time that frontline health workers are getting measly salaries and incentives despite the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic. 

An HSB payment schedule that is in the possession of the Daily News shows that its top office bearers recently got huge added “coronavirus” allowances for just two weeks of work. 

For example, HSB chairperson Paulinus Sikhosana received a further 480 litres of petrol for his use, despite him already having a monthly allocation of 600 litres a month. 

He also got $800 worth of airtime, $2 250 for data bundles and $3 050 for transport.
 Sikhosana confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that he had approved the hefty allowances, adding that these were not enough as he worked in Harare while his home was in Bulawayo.

“It is actually not enough because we do a lot of travelling. I am sometimes with the minister (Obadiah Moyo) when he visits institutions. 

“At times we will be working online. So, we need data … there is nothing unusual about the allowances. The officers have less because they do not come to work every day because of the lockdown shifts.

“You can get more from (Ruth) Kaseke (HSB executive director) because she has more information than I have,” Sikhosana said. 

Meanwhile, his deputy Auxilia Chideme-Munodawafa was also given an additional 360 litres of fuel, on top of her monthly 600 litres. 

In addition, she received $750 for airtime, $2 250 for data bundles and $3 000 for transport.
 Other board members who are full time got 280 litres of fuel, $700 for airtime and $2 250 for data, while their part-time colleagues received 130 litres for fuel, $350 for airtime and $1125 for data.

Kaseke was allocated an additional 360 litres of fuel, over and above her usual monthly allocation.

 She was also allocated $650 for airtime and $2 250 for data bundles — while general manager Englebert Mbengwa and four others, who have  monthly fuel allowances of 200 litres, were each given 200 more litres, $380 for airtime and $1 500 for data bundles. 

Their deputies got allowances ranging between 40 and 80 litres of fuel, between $150 and $300 for airtime, and between $400 and $900 for data bundles — depending on the number of days they were on duty during the two weeks.

The allowances come hard on the heels of deliveries to HSB bosses and other high ranking government officials of top-of-the-range vehicles. 

The hefty allowances also come at a time the government has been ordered by the High Court to provide health workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) among other essentials, in the fight against Covid-19.

 Aggrieved health workers told the Daily News yesterday that they were receiving $100 for airtime and the same for data bundles. 

“They (HSB bosses) have these fat allowances yet all they do is seat in their plush offices while we take the risk on the ground. 

“As you can see from the schedule, the foot soldiers have nothing except the $290 for transport, which is not even enough for a week. We call upon the ministry to intervene in this blatant abuse of resources,” one of the workers said. Daily News

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