Over P340 million to pay security forces overtime

Government will spend a whopping P340 million this year to pay the recently adjusted overtime allowances to national security forces, Botswana Guardian has established.

Junior officers from ranks of Constable to Senior Superintendent in Botswana Police Service (BPS) and Warder to Senior Superintendent (D4) in Prisons Services will get 5 percent adjustment to 20 percent of their basic salaries as overtime allowance. On the other hand Prisons Services overtime allowance increased from 15 percent to 20 percent of the basic salary for the ranks of Warder to Senior Superintendent.

Ranks above Senior Superintendent in both Botswana Police Service, and Prisons Services will be paid overtime allowance calculated in prorated percentage of the Senior Superintendent (D2) top notch; Assistant Commissioner and Senior Assistant Commissioner at 75 percent, Deputy Commissioner 50 percent and Commissioner at 25 percent. Government has also approved the adjustment of the salary scale for Special Constable from the current A3 to A1 and the duration of their contracts from the current renewable six (6) months to renewable twenty-four (24) months. Further government introduced for the first time overtime allowance in the BDF at the rate of 20 percent of the basic salary for the ranks of Private to Lieutenant Colonel (D1). This would be spread over a period of two years: that is, 10 percent in 2014/2015 and 10 percent in 2015/2016.

Ranks above Lieutenant Colonel will be paid allowance calculated in prorated percentage of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (D1) top notch; Colonel at 75 percent, Brigadier 50 percent, Major General and Lieutenant General (Commander) 25 percent. Overtime payable to DIS officers was adjusted from 15 percent to 20 percent. For the 2013/14 financial year, Ministry of Defence Justice and Security parted with over P1.7 billion which was paid to the BDF, BPS, Prisons Services and the DIS as basic salaries.

The security forces paid P1 billion, P610 million, P102 million and P68 million as salaries to the disciplined forces respectively, figures that bulked up to P1.7 billion for the financial year. On average, Botswana Guardian calculations estimated that after the recent increase in allowances, government would spend an additional P340 million as overtime allowances for the security forces. But what is interesting is that while a lowly paid Joe six-pack will get 20 percent of their salaries as overtime monthly, the most senior ranks of Assistant Commissioner and Senior Commissioner whose salary scales range at around FO (P488 520 annually) and F1 (P428 532 annually) will now pocket just close to a double salary monthly, an estimated equivalent of P366 390 and P321 399 of the respective scales on an annual basis on top of the basic salary.

It was impossible to establish where the source of the funds would come from since government has long declared that there were no funds for such an increment. “Ask the minister of defence, security forces are not civilians, they do not fall under the civil service act,” DPSM director Carter Morupisi dismissed this paper’s attempts.

But Ramadeluka Seretse also would not say what prompted the decision and where the funds were sourced. However, chances are that the money, far exceeding P340 million would be sliced from this year’s budget surplus, which is at P1.2 billion.It is an open secret that soldiers, police officers have been unhappy for some time and now government wants to please them because it’s an election year, according to an independent political analyst Anthony Morima.

“Government knows that possibilities of public demonstrations fuelled by civil sector frustrations are looming, so increasing security forces allowances was an indirect way to have them well remunerated and satisfied so they would comfortably protect government against the frustrated masses,” Morima said. Another analyst who preferred anonymity said that the move is president Ian Khama’s direct strategy to create what he called a ‘command atmosphere’, and buying election from the forces.

Known to be individuals that take orders, the analyst said Khama whose leadership ideology is based on authoritative rule, wants to satisfy the forces that would in return obey his commands and take orders without question, indicating loyalty. Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) senior officials Johnson Motshwarakgole and Tobokani Rari said they were not against the increment but rather the discriminatory manner in which it was done. “We get really worried when government applies differential treatment to different cadres of the public service,” said the unionists.

Rari stressed that government has of recent unilaterally offered all public servants a 4 percent increment across the board and further indicated that all fixed allowances will be adjusted by 4 percent. “It is then quite surprising that all of a sudden, government then turns around and offers a higher percentage of adjustment of allowances to the disciplined forces. One then reads a sinister motive of pleasing the armed forces because it’s an election year,” said Rari.

Last modified on Monday, 28 April 2014 16:52

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