THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has been paying salaries well above the threshold as prescribed in the Cabinet circular Number 3 of 2014 dated March 20, 2014 which pegged a salary cap of $6 000 per month for chief executives of public enterprises.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
NSSA finance and operations director Emmerson Mungwariri told members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts (PAC) yesterday that the general manager was receiving $18 000 per month, while his subordinates were getting $16 000.
“We did discuss with the AG’s (Auditor-General’s) Office at great length that interpretation of what that framework (Cabinet circular Number 3 of 2014 ) said… Let me take you back to a time when basic salaries were very low and then the quantum of allowances allowed a person to get basic earnings from $6 of total earnings to say $30 to $35 to $20 000,” he said.
“Then, when the new board was put in place in 2015, they reviewed and said these salaries were not acceptable and are exorbitant let us put in place a framework which then guides us. They did put in the framework which they sought authority of the minister to say 60% of your salaries should be basic and under no circumstances should your allowances exceed 40%, unlike in the previous circumstances where a person would get 10% basic and maybe 90% in allowances.
“Like the general manager (at the time) was earning a basic of about $13 000 plus various other allowances which brought his salary to about $35 000 and the others were on $7 000 (basic) and their allowances gave them in the region of about $20 to $25 000. And, when that new framework was put in place the salaries were then reduced to the maximum where the general manager, including his allowances were earning $18 000 and those second in line were reduced to $16 000.”
He said these new salary figures were sent to the Labour ministry for approval and presented documentation confirming that the salaries were approved.
However, PAC committee member Eddie Cross was unsatisfied with Mungwariri’s response and asked whether he knew that in spite of the 60/40 basic versus allowances whether he knew the cap set by Cabinet was at $6 000.
Mungwariri responded: “The Cabinet cap? I am not aware of that number of the Cabinet cap”.
Back in March 2014, government capped salaries and allowances for parastatal and local authorities’ bosses to $6 000 monthly.
“The Cabinet resolution passed a resolution that all State-controlled organisations should adhere to a cap on the salaries and it was obtained in the memorandum. But, I am concerned that you are admitting that you are not adhering to the cap,” Cross said.
In the end, PAC chairperson Paurina Mpariwa ordered Mungwariri to submit paperwork on why NSSA was not following the Cabinet directive.