Gov­ern­ment abol­ishes 8 000 Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture posts

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Chron­i­cle Re­porter

THE Gov­ern­ment has abol­ished more than 8 000 posts in the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion De­vel­op­ment as the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (PSC) im­ple­ments rec­om­men­da­tions of the Civil Ser­vice Au­dit Re­port of 2015.

The move comes at a time the Gov­ern­ment has frozen re­cruit­ments and pro­mo­tions in the civil ser­vice as part of its staff ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion ex­er­cise.

A memo signed by PSC sec­re­tary Mrs Pretty Sun­guro ad­dressed to the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Agri­cul­ture Min­istry, Mr Ring­son Chit­siko, dated July 29 this year and copied to the Min­istry of Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, says that out of 19 235 posts in the Min­istry, 8 252 posts have been abol­ished with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

The Agri­cul­ture Min­istry has since re­sponded to the memo say­ing the posts must not be abol­ished as that would de­rail Gov­ern­ment pro­grammes to re­vive the agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

The PSC de­ci­sion af­fects all the depart­ments within the Agri­cul­ture Min­istry — Mech­a­ni­sa­tion, Ir­ri­ga­tion, Crop and Live­stock pro­duc­tion, Agri­tex and Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Ref: Ap­proved de­tailed es­tab­lish­ment ta­ble (Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion De­vel­op­ment). Ref­er­ence is made to the Min­istry of Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment min­utes ref­er­enced C/30/1 dated 13 June and 20 July 2016 re­spec­tively. The Com­mis­sion has pro­ceeded to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Civil Ser­vice Au­dit Re­port of 2015 as di­rected by Cab­i­net on 12 July 2016 and out of a to­tal of 19 235 posts, of these 8 252 posts have been abol­ished. The ra­tio­nalised struc­ture and de­tailed es­tab­lish­ment leaves the Min­istry with an es­tab­lish­ment of 10 983,” reads the memo in The Chron­i­cle’s pos­ses­sion.

The posts that have been abol­ished range from Direc­tors to pro­vin­cial and district of­fi­cers down to gen­eral hands. All pro­vin­cial posts in the Agri­tex depart­ment have also been abol­ished as the depart­ment has been merged with the Crop and Live­stock Pro­duc­tion depart­ment.

The fisheries depart­ment has been abol­ished and the posts of pro­vin­cial Agri­tex of­fi­cer and pro­vin­cial live­stock pro­duc­tion and de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer have been scrapped.

Agri­cul­ture Min­istry Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Mr Chit­siko re­sponded in a let­ter dated Au­gust 11 ask­ing the PSC not to abol­ish the posts as the de­ci­sion would leave the Min­istry in a quandary.

“Ex­panded pro­grammes to re­vive agri­cul­ture will be se­ri­ously af­fected by loss of staff. These pro­grammes have long term na­tional ben­e­fits and should be safe­guarded from short term but short-lived ben­e­fits,” said Mr Chit­siko.

“There­fore, be­fore we fully im­ple­ment the ap­proved struc­ture, we seek the Com­mis­sion’s per­mis­sion to pro­pose an al­ter­na­tive ap­proach to en­able the Com­mis­sion to man­age the cur­rent fis­cal con­straints while hope­fully re­tain­ing the Min­istry’s ca­pac­ity to de­liver ser­vices within its sphere of ex­panded re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and ac­tiv­i­ties.”

He rec­om­mended a re­duc­tion in the num­ber of work­ing days for some staff where pay­ment could be on a pro rata ba­sis, abo­li­tion of all va­cant posts, re­tir­ing all non crit­i­cal staff aged 60 years and above and main­tain­ing the cur­rent freeze on the re­place­ment of these staff upon re­tire­ment, res­ig­na­tion or death.

“We’re al­ready in the 2016/2017 farm­ing sea­son and we should min­imise on re­struc­tur­ing as this could cause a lot of in­sta­bil­ity in the min­istry re­sult­ing in poor ser­vice de­liv­ery,” said Mr Chit­siko.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Dr Joseph Made was not reach­able while the Deputy Min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for live­stock Paddy Zhanda re­ferred ques­tions to Mr Chit­siko who was also not reach­able. The Deputy Min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for Crops and Ir­ri­ga­tion, Mr Davis Mara­pira said he could not com­ment be­cause as Deputy Min­is­ters they do not deal with hu­man re­sources is­sues.

Deputy Min­is­ter Paddy Zhanda

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