Local units fix wages without laws mandating their actionMany local units across the country have determined the salaries for their officials on their own, while the government is still working on a bill concerning the pay and facilities of elected local representatives.
Many local units across the country have determined the salaries for their officials on their own, while the government is still working on a bill concerning the pay and facilities of elected local representatives.
The Article 227 of the constitution says that the perks and remuneration of local representatives will be determined and governed by provincial laws after the provincial assembly is elected.
In the absence of provincial assembly, the parliament can make necessary laws for the lower level governance structures. However, many local units have already determined the pay and facilities for their officials before the parliament could come up with such laws.
According to officials at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), they have learnt that a large number of the local units have already fixed the salaries and facilities for their officials.
For example, the municipal assembly of Kirtipur Municipality has fixed the monthly remuneration for the mayor at Rs35,000 and Rs30,000 for its deputy mayor. Likewise, it has set a monthly salary of Rs18,000 for ward chairpersons and Rs9,000 for municipal executive members.
Madhyapur Thimi Municipality has also moved ahead with a similar decision, without waiting for the election of provincial assembly or the parliament to come up with a legislation on salary scale of elected local representatives. The municipality has decided to pay Rs35,000 monthly salary to its mayor along with Rs1,000 as phone allowance and Rs7,500 annually to buy uniform. The remuneration for deputy mayor has been fixed at Rs30,500 per month, while phone and uniform allowances will be equivalent to mayor’s. The salary for ward chairpersons has been set at Rs25,000 along with phone and uniform allowances.
The municipality officials said they determined their pays on their own because the constitution has authorised the municipal assembly make their laws.
“Municipal assembly can take decision on remuneration if the allocations come out of local resources,” said Kirtipur Mayor Ramesh Maharjan. “The decision can of course be adjusted in line with the provincial laws in the future.”
Officials at the MoFALD, however, are of the view that the concerned local units should have waited for legislation to mandate their move.
Rudra Singh Tamang, spokesperson at the MoFALD, said they were finalising the bill regarding the remuneration and facilities for the elected representatives and there was no reason for the local units to rush.
“We have got approval from Finance Ministry regarding the standard set for remunerations,” he said.
In the bill, the MoFALD, had proposed providing certain wages to the elected representatives for getting involved in daily office works while additional facilities like shelter, vehicle and fuel would be as decided by the village or municipal assembly.
Earlier, Finance Ministry had insisted on providing just allowances to the people’s representatives. But it became flexible and agreed to let the local units decide on the matter. “Local units are free to decide whether they want to provide monthly salaries or just allowances to the people’s representative,” said Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi.