The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is sweating over salary arrears of the country’s diplomats serving at Foreign Missions and has appealed to parliament to help settle the bill that dates back to periods before 2019.
This was revealed by Foreign affairs permanent secretary Ambassador James Manzou during a pre-budget consultative meeting with the Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Committee yesterday.
Manzou sought the assistance of the committee to settle the outstanding salary arrears that date back to periods before 2019 to date. The arrears also include operational expenses, rentals, medical and school fees refunds.
“Honourable members, allow me to draw special reference to the issue of payment of salaries for diplomats serving at Foreign Missions, who have arrears dating back to periods before 2019. The Ministry is appealing to this esteemed committee to help in pushing for the clearance of arrears at our Diplomatic Missions,” said Ambassador Manzou.
He said the country’s diplomatic offices and residents abroad are in an appalling condition due to lack of maintenance owing to funding crisis.
“Most of our chanceries and residence abroad are in a terrible state of disrepair and are therefore in need of extensive renovations and refurbishment. Due to years of neglect owing to lack of funding, Government has not been able to keep pace with the repair schedule. The ministry’s local properties have also not been spared, particularly the guest houses which are in urgent need of extensive maintenance.” he said
According to Ambassador Manzou, the Diplomatic Missions are owed a total of more than US$ 41 million in salaries and services rendered.
The Missions are owed US$ 20 331 188.17 in salaries while rentals stand at US$ 9 120 891.00 and operations US$ 6 958 397.88 with medicals and school refunds requiring US$ 4 820 465.21