The decision by government to ensure that salaries of workers in its companies and the public service are uniform is timely and welcome.
The initiative is being implemented at a time when government is hard pressed for cash to service its citizens. It also comes against the background of withheld donor aid, a development that calls for prudence in resource management.
It is common knowledge that the prevailing disparity in remuneration for government employees is a catalyst for dissatisfaction and fraud. What with revelations that a principal secretary in a line ministry gets less than what a director gets in a parastatal? Where is the motivation when a graduate accountant, in public service, receives less than what a driver in a government owned company carts home?
Apart from the job security and freedom that exists in public service, there is nothing much to motivate its workers. Civil servants do not get bonuses for putting in extra effort. The meagre pay for qualified people only motivates them to devise survival means which often negatively affects productivity and service delivery.
Examples abound of government companies turned private who are making huge profits because productive workers are properly rewarded.
But there is need to consult widely if the outcome of this exercise is to be acceptable to all stakeholders. It will be a waste of time and resources if some stakeholders such as the unions reject the new salary scales on the basis that it is not reflective of their wishes.