The Government has outlined various measures to be taken in the next financial year 2021/2022 to improve the welfare of workers, including reducing Pay As You Earn (PAYE) charged on salaries by 1 percent and scrap other charges that afflict the employees.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan said yesterday when addressing workers during the Commemoration of the International Workers' Day held at national level in Mwanza that the measures will provide relief to workers.
"I am aware that workers' salaries have not been increased for approximately six years in the public sector and eight in the private sector, I personally wish that your salaries are increased this year, but unfortunately I have failed to fulfill your expectations," Samia said.
The Head of State explained that there were various factors which contributed to the Government failure to raise workers' salaries, including the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic which has slowed the country's economic growth from 6.9 percent to 4.7 percent.
She added that apart from the outbreak of the pandemic, the measures intended to be taken by the Government to scrap nuisance taxes and other charges will also affect revenue collections.
"Therefore based on these factors, it has been difficult for me to increase the salaries this year, but the Government intends to take various steps to improve the welfare of workers," President Samia said.
She said that in the coming financial year, the Government intends to promote between 85,000 and 91,000 employees who will cost 449bn/-, pay 60bn/- as salary arrears to civil servants, changing the civil service structure which will cost the state 120bn/-, and employ 40,000 workers to reduce the workload to employees, especially in health and education sectors.
Ms. Samia further said that the Government has also reduced PAYE charged on salaries from 9 to 8 percent.
Previously, the fifth-phase Government reduced income tax by 2 percent, from 11 percent to 9 percent, and the deduction becomes effective at the begging of this financial year expected to end in June this year.
She added that in addition to the measures, the Government will also control inflation. "It is my expectation that these steps will provide relief to workers... but I assure you (workers) that next year I will come up with a good package of salary increment," she said.
She added that the salary increment will also include review of minimum wage for public and private sectors.
President Samia therefore directed respective authorities to speed up the formation of wage boards so that they can start working over the matter and recommend the minimum wage.
Meanwhile, on delays in payment of retirement benefits, President Samia directed social security schemes to make sure all retired employees are paid their dues.
She added that the Government will start paying the workers their terminal benefits this month and continue in the following months until all of them are covered.
On other workers' claims, Ms. Samia said that the Government has been clearing the debts as it accomplishes the verification.
She said that between July last year and April this year, the Government paid workers' claims worth 74bn/- to 36,126 civil servants, of which 32,669bn/- was paid to 11,272 teachers.
"During the same period, the Government also paid non-salary arrears worth 18,220bn, and verification of salary arrears for 8,334 workers is in progress," Ms. Samia noted.
She further warned public institutions to stop generating unnecessary debts, such as transferring workers without having a budget for transfer allowance, and also presenting false claims because they have been delaying the payment process.
"Some institutions have been presenting fake claims, therefore Government has to verify them in order to ascertain their validity before effecting the payments," she said.
Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) Acting Secretary General, Said Wamba said that workers' salaries have not been increased for eight years in the private sector and six years in the public sector, a situation which has affected the morale of employees.
He said that the cost of living has continued to rise while employee's payments have not changed.
The SG said that the minimum wage for workers in the country has continued to be low over the past six years compared to the rising cost of living.
In private sector, the minimum wage is between 40,000 and 60,000 for domestic workers, while the wage for industrial and farm workers is 100,000/-.
These rates were announced in Government Notice 196/2013. In the public sector the minimum wage is 300,000/- which was announced in 2015.
He said that the wages are too low to enable workers meet their basic needs, taking into account the high cost of living Mr. Wamba called on the Government to review the wages to enable workers meet the cost of living.