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John Magufuli: "I Cannot Lie About Salaries, God will Judge me when I Die"

Tanzania's President John Magufuli yesterday rejected workers' request for a pay rise, citing huge development projects that consum...

Tanzania's President John Magufuli yesterday rejected workers' request for a pay rise, citing huge development projects that consume a massive amount of money as among the reasons.

Dr Magufuli, addressing workers at the climax of May Day celebrations at Samora Stadium in Iringa municipality, however, assured that public employees will get their statutory salary increment.

In his speech, which some radio and television stations beamed live, the president said he wished hiking salaries on Labour Day but after realising several challenges ahead, he decided to postpone his wish. But, he promised that before the end of his tenure in office he will have increased wages for all workers.

"I don't want to give you a meagre 10,000/- salary increase, I instead, want you to enjoy a super package that will make everybody happy," he promised.

During his speech, the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) Secretary-General, Dr Yahya Msigwa had pleaded with the Head of State to hike salaries for workers, insisting that for four years consecutively there had been no salary increment and that the minimum wage remains too little to support the cost of living of workers and their families.
Tanzania President 
But, Dr Magufuli said his government was still building up the economic foundations to provide the country with a strong economic base that will support huge salaries to workers. He outlined the projects that need a substantial amount of money as the Rufiji Hydroelectric Power Project at Stigler's Gorge (3tri/-), Standard Gauge Railway (7tri/-) and the construction of the Iringa Airport (90bn/-), among others.

"In my views, disbursing 23.8bn/- for free primary education to our children or 483bn/- for students' loans at several higher learning institutions is more important than hiking salaries for workers," he said. He added that the government intends to employ 22,150 new workers before the end of the 2017/2018 financial year, people who will need more money for their wage bill.

President Magufuli was, however, optimistic that after completion of the ongoing mega development projects, the government will be in a position to provide handsome wage packages to workers.

"I cannot lie to you that I will hike the salaries because I don't want to be judged by God for telling lies when I die," he said, adding that his government loves all workers in the country, calling for close cooperation from TUCTA.

The president said his government had so far made tremendous strides in improving the welfare of workers, including paying the outstanding arrears accumulated in salaries and other stipends.

According to him, until yesterday, the government had paid 68.3bn/- as arrears in accumulated salaries and 220bn/- in non-salaries to 52,881 workers. He assured workers that all valid arrears will be paid by his government.

So far, he added, the government had offered promotions to 88,016 workers and 25,504 others were due for promotion. The TUCTA Secretary General in his earlier speech also requested the president to think of reducing Pay As You Earn (PAYE) which he said was a burden to workers.

"The government collects a lot of tax from workers on PAYE because business people pay Value Added Tax (VAT) of up to 18 percent to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA)," he said. However, the president said that his government last year reduced PAYE from 11 to 9 percent ahead of earlier negotiations with the workers' union. - Daily News

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