Elected local reps may not get fixed salariesThe Ministry of Finance is mulling over extending allowances, rather than fixed salaries, to elected representatives of local bodies to reduce the financial burden on the government.
The Ministry of Finance is mulling over extending allowances, rather than fixed salaries, to elected representatives of local bodies to reduce the financial burden on the government.
The ministry’s plan is in direct contrast with the proposal floated by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) to extend fixed salaries to elected representatives of local bodies.
Earlier, the MoFALD had proposed to provide salaries ranging from Rs15,000 to Rs60,000 per month to mayors, deputy mayors, chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of village councils, and chiefs of ward offices.
Once the second phase of local level elections scheduled for June 28 is over, the country will have 526 mayors and deputy mayors, 962 village council chairpersons and deputy chairpersons, and 6,680 ward chiefs.
If each of these elected representatives is extended an average remuneration of, say, Rs30,000 per month, the government will have to fork out around Rs3 billion per year just to cover their salaries.
“To reduce this financial burden, we have proposed that elected representatives be given allowances rather than fixed salaries,” said a senior official of the Finance Ministry on condition of anonymity. “This is because these people were elected to serve their communities and not because they were jobless.”
Currently, the MoFALD has proposed allowances exclusively for 26,720 ward members, who will be elected once the second phase of local polls is over. The proposed allowances range from Rs800 to Rs1,500 per meeting.
“It is our recommendation that other elected representatives be extended allowances depending on meetings they attend,” said the Finance Ministry official, adding, “We are planning to frame a guideline on remuneration for elected representatives of local bodies along this line.”
However, it is not yet known whether the proposal floated by the Ministry of Finance will be accepted, as lawmakers, who are also elected representatives, draw salaries every month.
“Also, it will not be binding for local bodies to heed every call of the ministries at the centre, because they have been given the authority to sort these issues out on their own,” said MoFALD Spokesperson Rudrasingh Tamang.
“So, the guideline on remuneration framed by the Finance Ministry may not always be followed.”
This basically means those who are ethical may choose allowances over salaries, as they took part in elections with the promise of serving their communities, while others may prefer to take home a fixed amount of money at the end of the month.
- 6—metropolitan cities
- 11—sub-metropolitan cities
- 481—village councils