2 021 May Day is the day that uplifted workers’ morale in the country after President Samia Suluhu Hassan gave them her word that the government plans to improve their salaries in 2022/23 financial year.
Addressing Tanzanian workers in Mwanza region yesterday who joined their colleagues in the world to commemorate Labour Day President Samia issued an encouraging speech, rekindling what was the otherwise fading hope of having workers’ welfare improved.
Though she did not make an announcement on salary increase that could take effect in the coming financial year, the reduction of the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) by 1 per cent on salaries is an indication that good things are coming ahead. According to President Samia, improving civil servants’ welfare was something that was occupying his heart but doing so at this time when the country’s economic growth is negatively impacted by Covid-19 is a challenge to the nation, especially on budgetary aspect.
In her speech President Samia said Covid- 19 slowed the country’s economic growth from 6.9 per cent to 4.7 per cent, asking workers to be patient for the things to improve. President Samia’s speech, by any measure, serves as a morale booster to workers who have waited for salary increments for between six and eight years.
By any measure, between six and eight years a lot of things have changed, so is the cost of living. The reason behind her failure to make announcement about salary increment yesterday is understandable.
No one may pretend to be not aware of the effects brought about by Covid-19 on the country’s economy. Of course no country has been spared by the pandemic and some nations with financial muscles have announced to issue stimulus package to kick start growth of their economies. We strongly support Mama Samia’s stand in this matter though it may not sound good to some.
This year’s May Day also came with a good message to the beneficiaries of loans offered by the Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESLB) after President Samia announced to scrap an additional six per cent fees imposed on loans. According to HESLB, six per cent was introduced as Value Retention Fee (VRF) charged annually on the out- standing loan balance, and not the principal loan.
It was introduced in 2012/13, and was aimed at increasing the value of loan financing offered to beneficiaries. Though HESLB had good intention in imposing this fee, its implementation created a huge burden on loanees who have been complaining of finding themselves paying large amount of money in the end.
President Samia deserves felicitations for the decisions she makes to lessen the burden related to the biting cost of living to Tanzanians.