People aged 60 and over in Swaziland will get an increase of E20 (US$2) per month in their pensions, according to the kingdom’s annual budget. This will bring it up to E240.
Meanwhile, the same budget has allowed for a house to be built for the Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini at a cost to the taxpayer of E6.595 million. The house will be for Dlamini’s personal use after the 72-year-old leaves office.
Dlamini was not elected to Parliament by the people; he was personally appointed by King Mswati III who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Delivering his budget speech on Friday (27 February 2015), Finance Minister Martin Dlamini announced the E20 increase in the elderly person’s grant, saying, ‘Mr Speaker, government continues to prioritise the welfare of the vulnerable in our society.’
The Observer on Saturday, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported that Finance Committee Chairperson Patrick Pha Motsa, had said after the budget was announced, ‘[W]hen working on the budget, they considered priorities, hence allocating the money to the people and the projects of importance.’
According to a Government Circular known as Circular No.2 of 2013, the Swazi Prime Minister after retirement will also be entitled to a car (whose value has been estimated at E1 million) for as long as he lives.
The Circular also allows the Prime Minister upon retirement to receive a pension which is equivalent to 80 percent of the basic salary he earned a day prior to retiring. This is in addition to the E600,000 ex-gratia payment he would get after fully serving his term in office.
The PM will also get 10 percent of his basic monthly salary of E51,470 as an entertainment allowance.
Barnabas Dlamini will also be afforded a state funeral, even if he does not die while in office.
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