‘ NTLOLE’ SALARY HIKE DRIES UP ARMY COFFERS
The Botswana Defence (BDF) has given to its soldiers with one hand and taken with another, it has emerged.
This came to the fore after the euphoria and the excitement that engulfed the BDF barracks following the recent astronomical salary increments were cut short by the BDF commander, Lt General Placid Segokgo’s announcement of delayed promotions.
Segokgo dropped the bombshell that dampened the spirits of the excited soldiers who had dabbed the phenomenal salary increment “ Ntlole” and created a dance around it on May 31st.
The commander’s announcement, according to a source within the army has brought the morale down as many had anticipated that the 1st April salary adjustment would be a precursor to many more good things, including scheduled promotions and improved conditions of service.
The salary hike which has left some soldiers earning twice or three times their salaries was hurried and random as it was not catered for in the 2019/ 2020 budget, something, which has led to some important army projects being put on hold, the source further claimed.
“Right now the main focus will be to make sure that soldiers are paid what they have been promised and promoting others would put more strain on the already cash strapped institution,” added the source who went to explain that by using the word, delayed’ the commander was being tactful and trying to buy time.
“Promotions are normally announced around BDF Day, which was in April but until now there was a deafening silence on the matter until the controversial savingram surfaced,” he said.
Meanwhile, BDF Director, Protocol and Public Affairs. Colonel Tebo Kacho Dikole has confirmed the delay in promotions but refused to go into details saying it was an internal matter that was not meant for public consumption.
“The Botswana Defence Force can confirm that the Commander, BDF has issued a Circular Savingram on 31st May 2019 wherein he succinctly informs members of the BDF that promotions of members for the fiscal year 2019/20 will be delayed. The essence Of the Circular Savingram, which is internal and classified, confidential hinges on the fact that BDF promotions for deserving members usually occur in May/June and end of November every year subject to availability of vacancies and budget amongst others. Addressees of the said Circular Savingram are specifically BDF members, and therefore it is unfortunate to see the same on public social media platforms,” he responded in writing.
The BDF 2019/2020 recurrent budget was the third largest at P 6.86 billion meant to cover running costs at BDF, Police and Prisons.