Mongu Central UPND member of parliament Dr Mwilola Imakando has proposed a reduction in the number of civil servants to minimize expenditure on emoluments in the national budget.

Dr Imakando said in an interview that donors would be willing to fund such an exercise whose objective would be to reduce the government’s high expenditure on civil service emoluments.

“With emoluments, perhaps if we approached some donors and said ‘look, we want to cut down on the number of civil servants, can you help us pay out the packages?’ It is my firm belief that cooperating partners would assist. I know that they have done it in other countries, so if we reduce emoluments to about 35 per cent of the budget, 34 to 40 [per cent], it would give us another 10 to 15 per cent to be used on operations,” Dr Imakando said.

He called for an increase in allocation to operational funds for all provinces to enhance productivity.

“We do have a challenge with our budget structure. Our budget structure is that 50 per cent of it goes to emoluments. Now if 50 per cent goes to salaries, it means that you are only remaining with 50 per cent. Now unfortunately, we have a high debt burden…about 41 per cent goes to debt servicing. That only leaves nine per cent for what you would call operations. With nine per cent shared in the 10 provinces, it means that each province gets less than one per cent of the budget for operations, so to deal with this challenge of the budget structure, we need to deal with emoluments and we need to deal with debt servicing,” said Dr Imakando.

“Can you imagine a situation where people go to offices, they sit down and they can’t do any work because they have no operational funds and yet we pay them every month? So we are paying them to do nothing and this kills their motivation. So it is important that we address this issue of not having operational funds and one way of doing it is to reduce the number, save on that money, take it to operations.”