Gloomy pic­ture for civil ser­vants at bud­get re­view NO MORE BONUSES, PAY CUTS IN­STEAD $2 000 ex­tor­tion af­ter pas­tor fails to pay hooker $20

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Hap­pi­ness Zen­geni Pa­trick Chi­tumba

AS part of bold mea­sures to re­verse an un­sus­tain­able con­sump­tive po­si­tion, the Gov­ern­ment has em­barked on a civil ser­vice re­struc­tur­ing ex­er­cise which in­cludes a re­duc­tion in em­ploy­ment num­bers by 25 000, a cut on salaries and al­lowances and fore­go­ing of bonuses for two years.

The Gov­ern­ment will also ra­tio­nalise the num­ber of em­bassies and con­sulates, re­view class travel ar­range­ments of all of­fi­cials in­clud­ing Min­is­ters, Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, in­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sions and Au­thor­i­ties and State en­ter­prises of­fi­cials and a re­duc­tion in for­eign al­lowances.

The mea­sures are ex­pected to re­duce em­ploy­ment costs to around 60 per­cent of to­tal rev­enues by 2019 from the cur­rent 97 per­cent and ul­ti­mately re­di­rect rev­enue to­wards cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture which will stim­u­late pro­duc­tion.

Pre­sent­ing the Mid-Year Fis­cal Pol­icy Re­view state­ment in the Na­tional As­sem­bly yes­ter­day, Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa said fis­cal space re­mains tight as rev­enues con­sis­tently un­der­per­form while ex­pen­di­tures con­tinue to out­strip tar­gets.

Em­ploy­ment costs took $1.638 bil­lion of rev­enue be­tween Jan­uary and June this year which con­sti­tuted 96.8 per­cent of to­tal rev­enues.

“Against ex­pen­di­ture pres­sures, im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 2016 Na­tional Bud­get in­evitably re­quires fur­ther fis­cal re­forms in or­der to re­bal­ance ex­pen­di­tures with an­tic­i­pated rev­enues, in­clud­ing ra­tio­nal­is­ing pub­lic ex­pen­di­tures, as well as the re­duc­tion of em­ploy­ment costs in favour of cap­i­tal and so­cial spend­ing,” Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said.

To achieve this, the Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue with ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion and re­align­ment mea­sures al­ready ap­proved by Cabi­net which will re­duce the base­line pub­lic em­ploy­ment costs by around $118 mil­lion by end of 2016.

Al­ready some of the key Wage Bill Ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion Mea­sures have since been im­ple­mented, and are al­ready yield­ing monthly sav­ings of around $6.5 mil­lion, ef­fec­tive Jan­uary 1, 2016.

“The Pub­lic Ser­vice Wage Bill ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion mea­sures be­ing im­ple­mented by Gov­ern­ment, ef­fec­tive 1 Jan­uary 2016, con­sti­tute the first in­stal­ment of mea­sures to­wards the grad­ual re­duc­tion of fis­cal rev­enues re­quired to sup­port Wage ex­pen­di­tures.

“From the mea­sures al­ready ap­proved by Gov­ern­ment, those in­sti­tuted with ef­fect from 1 July 2016 will yield ad­di­tional monthly sav­ings of about $6.9 mil­lion. To this end, cu­mu­la­tive fi­nan­cial sav­ings re­alised to end of Au­gust 2016, amounted to $64.4 mil­lion. This will cul­mi­nate in over­all monthly sav­ings of $13.4 mil­lion against tar­geted monthly sav­ings of $14.7 mil­lion, trans­lat­ing into pro­jected an­nual sav­ings of around US$118 mil­lion.’’ A GWERU pas­tor who so­licited for sex from a self-con­fessed pros­ti­tute and failed to set­tle the full $20 bill for ser­vices ren­dered ended up be­ing ex­torted about $2 000 by the woman who was threat­en­ing to ex­pose his shenani­gans.

This came out when Pas­tor Pe­nias Kadun­gure of the Pres­by­te­rian Church in Gweru ap­peared be­fore civil court mag­is­trate Miss Ju­dith Taruvinga ap­ply­ing for a peace or­der against the hooker, Caro­line Guduza, of River­side sub­urb.

Miss Taruvinga granted Kadun­gure the peace or­der.

“Or­der is granted. Re­spon­dent (Caro­line Guduza) is barred from call­ing the Ap­pli­cant or com­mu­ni­cat­ing with him in what­ever man­ner or through agents. Re­spon­dent is fur­ther or­dered to de­sist from ex­tort­ing any money from the Ap­pli­cant and mak­ing any threats of what­ever na­ture,” ruled the mag­is­trate.

Guduza told Miss Taruvinga that she was a pros­ti­tute who op­er­ates from Gweru’s Cen­tral Busi­ness District.

She said she was first hired for sex by Pas­tor Kadun­gure in May last year Pas­tor and went on to charge him $20. “He said he had $15 and so he gave me his cell­phone num­ber so that I call him for the re­main­der. The fol­low­ing day I asked him for my bal­ance which he didn’t have. He said his wife was a teacher out­side Gweru and we would com­mu­ni­cate dur­ing the week till Fri­day when she re­turned home. I didn’t extort money from him be­cause we were now in a re­la­tion­ship. I also didn’t know that he was a pas­tor. He told me that he was a civil ser­vant,” said Guduza.

How­ever, to re­in­force the mea­sures while creat­ing scope for fi­nanc­ing drought, debt ser­vice and other cap­i­tal and op­er­a­tions pro­grammes, Gov­ern­ment will re­duce salaries and al­lowances by 5 and 20 per­cent start­ing with Deputy Di­rec­tors to Min­is­ters ef­fec­tive Oc­to­ber 2016. There will also be no bonus pay­ments for 2016 and 2017. “The pro­pos­als will trans­late to sav­ings of around $180 mil­lion per an­num, which will be chan­nelled to es­sen­tial ex­pen­di­tures re­lat­ing to the drought,” said Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa.

Gov­ern­ment will also with ef­fect from Oc­to­ber 1, 2016 tax civil ser­vants’ al­lowances us­ing a pro­gres­sive tax struc­ture sub­ject to en­gage­ment with the re­spec­tive units. Fur­ther to that grant aided in­sti­tu­tions which are still be­ing funded by Gov­ern­ment were di­rected to con­trib­ute to­wards the re­mu­ner­a­tion of their staff.

On con­di­tion of ser­vice ve­hi­cles, Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said Gov­ern­ment would is­sue one con­di­tion of ser­vice ve­hi­cle to Deputy Min­is­ters, Per­ma­nent Sec­re­taries and those of equiv­a­lent grades. Di­rec­tors and equiv­a­lent grades will mi­grate to­wards a broader ve­hi­cle loan scheme in re­place­ment of con­di­tion of ser­vice ve­hi­cle.

“Re­view of con­di­tion of ser­vice ve­hi­cles will also ap­ply to in­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sions and Au­thor­i­ties, Statu­tory en­ti­ties, and state en­ter­prises’ of­fi­cials.”

The min­is­ter also an­nounced the sus­pen­sion of all Gov­ern­ment bailouts of Paras­tatals that are not sup­ported by ap­proved spe­cific and mea­sur­able re­cov­ery plans that com­ply fully with Re­mu­ner­a­tion Frame­work and Pub­lic Cor­po­rate Gover­nance Law.

Other mea­sures in­clude the ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion of the for­eign ser­vice mis­sions by re­duc­ing the num­ber of Em­bassies and Con­sulates in con­sul­ta­tion with the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, re­view­ing ben­e­fits for diplo­matic staff, in­clud­ing sup­port for ed­u­ca­tional ex­penses, rental ceil­ings and travel sup­port for chil­dren of diplo­mats.

The new mea­sures will also see the ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion of for­eign travel through a re­view of the class of travel ar­range­ments for all Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in­clud­ing Min­is­ters, Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, in­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sions and Au­thor­i­ties and state en­ter­prises’ of­fi­cials; and en­forc­ing com­pli­ance with of­fi­cial for­eign busi­ness travel per diem rates, tak­ing ac­count of global cost of liv­ing de­vel­op­ments since then.

“Where spe­cial rates are ex­tended, the re­spec­tive ben­e­fi­cia­ries will be re­quired to ac­count and ac­quit,” he said.

How­ever, he noted that the mea­sures will only re­sult in the ra­tio of em­ploy­ment costs to rev­enue go­ing down to 76 per­cent which will still leave no room for de­vel­op­ment ex­pen­di­ture as well as crit­i­cal debt re­pay­ments. “There would, there­fore, be need, in the out­look, for fur­ther re­duc­tion in em­ploy­ment costs and I pro­pose that, in ad­di­tion to the above mea­sures, we con­sider ad­di­tional re­forms to re­duce the monthly wage bill as a con­tin­u­a­tion of the Zim-As­set re­form agenda to fully sup­port eco­nomic stim­u­la­tion.

“In this re­gard, un­der the forth­com­ing 2017 Na­tional Bud­get, I will be propos­ing mea­sures that tar­get em­ploy­ment costs of $232 mil­lion per month by June 2017 and $219 mil­lion by De­cem­ber 2017.”

Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said to­gether with the Min­is­ter for Pub­lic Ser­vice, Labour and So­cial Wel­fare and the Ser­vice Com­mis­sions, the Gov­ern­ment would down­size the civil ser­vice from the cur­rent level of 298 000 to 273 000. “It is im­por­tant for the Min­istry of Pub­lic Ser­vice and So­cial Wel­fare as well as the Ser­vice Com­mis­sions to ini­ti­ate the ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion process to en­able me to re­flect this in the 2017 Bud­get.”

He said the tar­get to re­duce em­ploy­ment num­bers from the cur­rent 298 000 to 273 000 by end of 2017 will yield an­nual sav­ings of $155 mil­lion, which would go to­wards sup­port­ing var­i­ous de­vel­op­ment projects and pro­grammes.

Ac­cord­ing to Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa, ini­tially the 2016 Na­tional Bud­get was pro­posed at $4 bil­lion for 2016, premised on an­tic­i­pated rev­enues of $3.85 bil­lion, and a pro­jected do­mes­tic fi­nanc­ing gap of $150 mil­lion and of the to­tal Bud­get, re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­tures were es­ti­mated at $3.685 bil­lion, while $315 mil­lion was ap­proved for de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes.

In the out­look, rev­enue is pro­jected at un­der $3.7 bil­lion by year end. This rep­re­sents a de­cline from the ini­tial pro­jec­tion of $3.85 bil­lion. To­tal ex­pen­di­tures dur­ing the six months to June 2016 were $2.316 bil­lion, against a tar­get of $2.007 bil­lion, giv­ing over-ex­pen­di­tures of $308.4 mil­lion. To­tal rev­enue was $1.69 bil­lion but Chi­na­masa said though sub­dued by the de­clin­ing mo­men­tum in eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity this year, re­flected pos­i­tive gains dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of 2016.

Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa

Pas­tor Pe­nias Kadun­gure Caro­line Guduza

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