Salary increment order faces hitch
Funds shortage haunts some public universities
Following the government directive that subvented parastatal organisations should adjust salaries by an average of 12 percent effective July 1 2021, only the University of Malawi (Unima) has hiked salaries by 10 percent out of four public learning institutions we sourced information from.
Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must), Mzuzu University (Mzuni) and Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (Mubas) are yet to make a decision as they did not set aside money for salary increment in their budgets.
The notice, which was signed by Comptroller of Statutory Corporations Nwazi Mnthambala, highlighted that the adjustment should, however, not affect operations of the institutions.
“In this regard, all subvented parastatal organisations are therefore advised to effect an average salary adjustment of not exceeding 12 percent, if it will be accommodated within the approved 2021-22 budget of the respective institution without affecting performance of the institution,” reads the statement he signed on September 2 2021.
The directive came at a time the government agreed to increase civil servants’ salaries by an average of 12 percent effective July 1 2021 in line with Civil Servants Trade Union demands.
While confirming that Unima, formerly Chancellor College, had effected the increment, University Workers Trade Union (Uwtu) President Moses Chintokoma indicated that the development had generated controversy.
In a letter that we have seen, dated September 23 2021, Chintokoma indicates that some members at Transition Unit, previously called University Office, who have the same conditions of service as Uwtu members have received a salary adjustment at the rate of 12 percent.
“What is the justification of discriminating other Uwtu members considering the fact that you have indicated in your letter that the 10 percent salary increase you intend to pay the members was already factored in the 2021-22 budget?
“Unless we hear from you seven days from the date hereof on when you will pay the remaining balance of 2 percent, we have made up our minds to do what the law allows us to do,” reads the letter addressed to the office of the University Registrar.
But Unima Registrar Mary Wasili simply said they had effected the upward adjustment with 10 percent because “it’s what was on our budget”.
At Mubas, a decision is yet to be made.
Yesterday, Academic Union President Maxford Chinomba said they were still waiting to hear from management on the way forward.
“We have had meetings on the matter with management but a decision is yet to be made,” he said.
At Mzuni, one source indicated that the institution has no money for the exercise as it was not budgeted for.
Another source indicated that the institution would need about K850 million more on its budget if the 12 percent increment were to be effected.
However, Mzuni Registrar was not available for a comment when contacted yesterday.
A similar situation is being faced at Must, which has over 250 members of staff.
Must Communications Manager James Mphande said a decision was yet to be made on the matter.
He could, however, not divulge more information, referring us to University Registrar Alfred Chinombo, who did not pick up our calls yesterday.
But a source privy to the issue said there was no money, ostensibly because the increment was not factored into the institution’s budget.
The source said, so far, the institution has had engagements with Ministry of Education and the university’s workers’ union on the way forward.
In the K1.9 trillion 2021-22 national budget, wages and salaries are projected at K436.3 billion, which represents 4.2 percent of the rebased gross domestic product.
At K436.3 billion, the wage bill represents 22 percent of the national budget which will run for nine months from July 2021 to March 2022.