PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has given the country’s workers reason to smile with promises and hope after guaranteeing them of a salary review and increase.
In a speech to the nation on the International Workers’ Day in Dodoma City on Sunday, President Samia stated that salary raises will be implemented, as she pledged last year, but not at the amount proposed by the Tanzanian Trades Union Con- gress (TUCTA).
TUCTA suggested a monthly minimum salary of at least 1,010,000/-.
“What we achieved this fiscal year, including tax reductions was the measure we took to ensure we improved workers’ welfare; despite that, the wage increase I promised last May Day is still in place,” President Samia stated.
She added, “The country’s economic growth slowed, but we work hard to ensure things return to normal.
“And because I promised something (salary increase) last year, something good is on the way; computations are underway, and we will know how much will be increased later.”
According to President Samia, this year’s May Day theme, ‘Improved salary for bet- ter benefits is our concern, Kaiendelee,’ offers an important message aimed at improving the welfare of workers.
Minimum wage boards President Samia noted that she was aware of the functions of the minimum wage boards in advising the government on lowest wage planning and other job prospects in the workplace and to continue to defend the interests of employees.
Elaborating, she stated that the government has established a minimum wage board for all sectors, both public and private, and has performed assessments to improve the present minimum wage.
“I ask the ministries in charge of these bodies to make sure that they empower them to carry out their responsibilities effectively and professionally for the intended purpose,” she said.
Taxes on salaries It will be recalled, she contin- ued, that the tax rate on salaries was over 18 per cent in 2012, but that after negotiations between the government and trade unions, the rate was cut to a single digit of 9 per cent at a salary level above 170,000/-.
She said that beginning in July of last year; the government went beyond the terms of the agreement by lowering the PAYE tax to 8 per cent, effectively raising the tax rate from 170,000/- to 270,000/-.
President Samia says that the change has enhanced the employ- ees’ salary and hence improved lives.
Other measures taken by the government include reducing PAYE taxes, which resulted in the government waiving 14.1bn/- and raising the health insurance age for children from 18 to 21 years, which resulted in the registration of 65,355 children who would have paid 3.7bn/- if their parents paid cash.
She also stated that the government had waived the 6 per cent value retention fee (VRF) that the Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESLB) has charged annually on the outstanding loan balance.
The government has also cancelled higher learning loans amounting to 1.168tril/- that was for defaulted students’ loans.
Equally, President Samia said 198,215 individuals were promoted, and the government spent 41bn/- on salaries. 21,224 employees were reassigned to new cadres and paid 4.3bn/-, while 75,007 people were paid 124.3bn/- and given new employ- ment for which the government spent 1.1bn/-.
Retirement benefits She said in terms of benefits and fares for retirees; the govern- ment had allocated 2.17tril/- for the payment of benefits to members inherited from the former PSPF and LAPF Public Service Pension Fund.
Payment of benefits has taken place within 60 days, according to the Head of State, thanks to improvements in retirement services, including the establishment of an electronic system that is inte- grated with the National Identifi- cation Authority (NIDA) system.
“This is because of the ease of member information registration without having to visit the fund offices,” she explained.
President Samia urged employers to prepare their employees’ expected retirement payments including their perks before their retirement dates and leaving office to ensure that they are fully given their dues.
On the Pension benefit formula, she explained that the issue has been lingering on from 25 to 50 per cent and noted that they are expecting to meet TUCTA to see how they can do it, insisting that the matter be resolved this year.
Workplace harassment President Samia said there have been complaints about harassment in some workplaces and often such acts have been perpetrated by some employers and public officials contrary to laws, regulations, procedures and guidelines of the civil service. She said the Regional Administration Act No. 19 of 1997 empower the Regional and District Commissioner to detain a public servant who commits an offence that endangers the safety of others or his/her security for 48 hours.
“I agree with TUCTA’s criticism that this clause is being exploited in some situations, where an employee stands up and dares to tell the truth, and I urge all those allowed to use this clause to apply it as instructed,” she said.