Legislators defend councillors, demand better pay packages

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MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) have demanded an improved pay package for councillors arguing that, as the first point of contact for the central government, they were doing a lot of work in their communities.

Debating the 2017/2018 budget estimates for the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (TAMISEMI), Mpwapwa legislator George Lubeleje (CCM), said it was a pity that the councillors’ have had no pay increments for the past five years.

“Councillors deserve to be paid more than what they get at the moment … and it is unreasonable for government to continue insisting that the civic leaders should only get (meagre) allowances … when they do a lot of work in the communities they serve,” the MP declared.

He also suggested that it was time for the government considered amending the law to pave way for councillors to get the same retirement benefits that the political leaders enjoy when they retire.

“We did change the law to include regional and district commissioners into the system of retirement benefits … so why can’t it be applied to the councillors?”

He queried. Nanyumbu MP, Dua Nkurua (CCM), also demanded increment of allowances paid to councillors, arguing that they, too, were doing “a lot of work in their communities,” because they were the first point of contact for the central government and should therefore be considered for more pay.

Another MP, Felister Bura (Special Seats -CCM) said councillors do not deserve the ‘mockery’ they get in the name of allowances because they are “the backbone of development projects” being carried out by the government.

“Councillors are the “immediate eye contact and representatives” of the people and it is unacceptable that the government condemns the civic leaders to a meagre allowance,” she said. Similar comments were made by Angela Malembeka (Special Seats - CCM), who said the councillors were getting too little compared to the work they are assigned to do.

The MPs also raised a ‘red flag’ on government delays in paying teachers their salaries and other demands.

Contributing, Mr Kasuku Bilago (Buyungu - CHADEMA), said a sum of 1.06trn/- remains unpaid to teachers countrywide, simply because he said the government was still conducting verification for the payments.

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