Hefty housing perks for doctors

Hefty housing perks for doctors

MASERU – DOCTORS who have been on a go-slow will beginning next month receive a M10 000 housing allowance.
Health Minister Nkaku Kabi said the government will pay the doctors the allowance to help them meet their accommodation needs.
Kabi said Cabinet had accepted the doctors’ request to have their housing allowance paid as part of their salaries.
Doctors in Lesotho are paid a minimum gross salary of M30 000 per month.

The decision to pay the new allowance comes at a time when some doctors had embarked on a go-slow to demand improved salaries and better working conditions.
The go-slow began sometime last month.
Kabi said now that a deal had been sealed, he expected the doctors to go back to work immediately.
He said the government considered the new M10 000 allowance part of the doctors’ retention package.

“We want our doctors to be comfortable working in the country,” he said.
He said that they will hold a formal meeting with the doctors and look at their grievances.
Kabi said the housing allowance was already being paid monthly but it was paid directly to property-owners.
“The only difference now is that it is no longer going to landlords but tenants directly,” Kabi said.

“Individual doctors will then decide where they want to stay with their cash in hand – whether they continue to stay in M15 000 houses or any amount.”
Kabi said they managed to solve the issue of housing allowances amongst the doctors.
“This was because it was the easy one among their requests.”

“Thereafter we will cut ties with landlords and give doctors money,” Kabi said.
He said that they take this as an achievement even though it took them a long time to resolve it as the cabinet took time to understand it.
He said that amongst their packages, doctors wanted their children to attend school where they wish.

“It was openly put and we were not sure whether this will be a burden to the government,” he said.
He said that they then decided to handle their demands in packages – starting with the one they thought was less demanding.
“Even if we pay them better, we are still not going to reach half of what we pay abroad because we would have attracted more doctors to come and work in Lesotho,” he added.

Health Director General, Dr ’Nyane Letsie, said that doctors’ salaries increment is a journey that started a long time ago.
Dr Letsie said that what the ministry did “was history that left Basotho doctors excited.”

She said that there were agreements between SADC ministers that hinder doctors to go and work in neighbouring countries.
“The encouragement was for each country to see to it that it has a retention package,” she said.
“It comes at the right time as we have young doctors,” she said.
She added that “we believe this is the right time for the government to bring this package.”

’Mapule Motsopa

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