Government says it fully appreciates the plight of civil servants in the country but has urged for patience as it works on improving welfare of the public servants.

The Office of President and Cabinet (OPC), said in a press statement released on Wednesday that it was working on harmonisation of remuneration of the Public Service, a key demand of Civil Servant Trade Union (CSTU).

The statement follows reports that the CSTU has rejected government’s proposed 8 percent salary increment.

On the issue of the board, OPC said the process will rely on the National Assembly when it considers the Public Service Remuneration Board Bill but said Government was developing a five-year roadmap for harmonizing remuneration for the whole Public Service to start once the bill is passed.

However, the statement fell short of either promising an increase on the proposed figure or outright rejection of civil servants proposal for a bigger increment.

The statement reads in part: “Malawi, presently, is the only country in Southern Africa where the government is spending more on salaries and wages as compared to operations to bring quality service to the people.

The government has in the 2013/2014 Budget proposed a wage bill of K131 billion for the Civil Servants against K63 billion which the government is expected to spend to provide various public services to the whole nation.

“This huge disparity must be reduced so that sufficient resources are allocated towards bringing quality services to the people and thereby enable the public service to be the engine for implementing government policies and programmes essential to the achievement of the National Development Agenda.

OPC further said Civil Servants should appreciate that Government efforts in the past five years whereby salaries have been increased annually, citing the 61 percent pay hike for the lower ranks effected in February and an average increment of 7 percent was effected in 2011/12.

CSTU leadership was not immediately available for comment but on Monday the body said if its evaluation was not met, it will take a radical action.

“Every civil servant is aware that there is going to be a pay rise in July and if that fails, we have told government that our approach is going to be more radical than before measures,” said Dennis Kalekeni TUM General Secretary and member of CSTU negotiating team. – By Golden Matonga

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