The government is reviewing the civil service wage bill which includes bonuses so it is too early to say whether government employees will receive bonuses this year or not, Public Service Minister Sekai Nzenza said.
Responding to a question from Senator Chief Ngungubane to clarify the position on bonuses for civil servants, Nzenza said: “At this stage, we are reviewing our pension funds as well as reviewing the Wage Bill which also includes the bonuses. Given the current economic turmoil, we would also take that into consideration and if you can bear with me for a while, we will be able to get back to you with the correct information.”
Asked by Senator Elias Mudzuri whether civil servants salaries will be in dollars instead of bond notes or RTGS, Nzenza replied: “I am not able to answer your question at this stage. That question can only be answered in consultation with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and all the other Ministers involved.”
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has pledged to cut the civil service wage bill by at least $200 million next year.
“Further to the various measures that Government is putting in to accelerate economic reforms that are necessary to right-sizing the economy, it is critical to restate Government’s great commitment to reducing fiscal imbalances which are the root cause of the many challenges the economy is facing,” Ncube said in a statement in which he sought to stablise the currency after rates plummeted to $1 to 6 bond notes.
“The challenges include cash shortages and the proliferation of foreign exchange parallel market rates which have a negative effect on prices. These challenges require that Government position the economy on a strong footing by implementing reforms that include cutting on government expenditure, working towards import parity pricing system, increasing efficiency on government delivery systems and fast-tracking the State Owned Enterprises reforms, among a host of reforms.”
The issue of bonuses for civil servants has been a contentious issue over the past few years with then Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa battling in vain to stop the bonuses only to have the decision overturned by then President Robert Mugabe who argued that this was a right.
The wage bill is gobbling about 90 percent of government expenditure and is reported to be one of the major causes for the ballooning domestic debt and the erosion of the surrogate currency because the government has been printing money through the real time gross settlement system to pay civil servants.
In 2016 and last year it was reported that the government needed $180 million for bonuses alone.
Zimbabwe also has a bloated civil service and at one time reports said there were 75 000 ghost workers.
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