Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Pamela Shumba

CIVIL ser­vants have de­manded for­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the Govern­ment to as­sure them that they will re­ceive their tra­di­tional an­nual bonuses and that there will be no re­duc­tion of salaries and al­lowances.

This fol­lows a state­ment by the Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices Christo­pher Mushohwe on Tues­day as­sur­ing Govern­ment work­ers that they would re­ceive their salaries, al­lowances and an­nual bonuses as usual.

Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa an­nounced in the Mid Term Fis­cal Pol­icy Re­view state­ment that civil ser­vants’ bonuses would be sus­pended for two years, while their salaries and al­lowances would be re­duced as part of mea­sures to bring the econ­omy back on track.

The Apex Coun­cil wel­comed Min­is­ter Mushohwe’s as­sur­ance but de­manded for­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the Govern­ment and the Na­tional Joint Ne­go­ti­at­ing Coun­cil (NJNC).

“The Apex Coun­cil re­jects the state­ment by Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa as it was is­sued with­out due con­sul­ta­tion with the work­ers. While the Apex Coun­cil ac­cepts the re­trac­tion by the Min­is­ter Mushohwe, it’s our view that such a re­trac­tion should be com­mu­ni­cated of­fi­cially to the NJNC.

“The Apex Coun­cil holds ev­ery min­is­ter col­lec­tively re­spon­si­ble for the in­sen­si­tive, im­pov­er­ish­ing and uni­lat­eral pro­pos­als pre­sented by Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa,” said Apex Coun­cil pres­i­dent Mrs Ce­cilia Alexan­der, af­ter a meet­ing among unions rep­re­sent­ing civil ser­vants yes­ter­day.

She said the Apex Coun­cil also re­jects the civil ser­vice au­dit re­port, as re­ferred to by Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa.

“The civil ser­vice au­dit re­port was crafted, adopted and im­ple­mented with­out due con­sul­ta­tions. The Apex Coun­cil ex­pects the NJNC meet­ing set for Fri­day to clear the air on the Govern­ment’s po­si­tion with re­gards to the pro­nounce­ments made in the Mid Term Fis­cal Re­view State­ment,” said Mrs Alexan­der.

She em­pha­sised that the Apex Coun­cil was non­par­ti­san and dis­owns any state­ment by any­one that makes ref­er­ence to the le­gal­ity or il­le­gal­ity of the man­date of the cur­rent govern­ment and State Pres­i­dent.

Pub­lic Ser­vice Labour and So­cial Wel­fare min­is­ter Prisca Mup­fu­mira could not be reached for com­ment yes­ter­day.

In the state­ment pre­sented in Par­lia­ment, Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said Govern­ment had em­barked on a civil ser­vice re­struc­tur­ing ex­er­cise, which in­cluded a re­duc­tion in em­ploy­ment num­bers.

He said the Govern­ment would 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.

The Min­is­ter added that there would be a re­duc­tion in for­eign al­lowances.

The mea­sures were 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 was ex­pected to stim­u­late pro­duc­tion.

Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said fis­cal space re­mained tight as rev­enues con­sis­tently un­der­per­formed while ex­pen­di­ture con­tin­ued to out­strip tar­gets. He said Govern­ment would con­tinue with ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion and re­align­ment mea­sures al­ready ap­proved by Cabi­net, which would re­duce the base­line pub­lic em­ploy­ment costs by around $118 mil­lion by end of 2016.

On Tues­day Min­is­ter Mushohwe said: “For the record, the above pro­pos­als were tabled be­fore Cabi­net by the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment on July 12, 2016 as part of cost-cut­ting mea­sures to fa­cil­i­tate eco­nomic re­cov­ery.

“Af­ter ex­ten­sive de­lib­er­a­tions, cost-cut­ting mea­sures re­lat­ing to the civil ser­vice were re­jected and the po­si­tion of Cabi­net is that the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment did not take into ac­count the re­jec­tion by Cabi­net ear­lier on. Once again, at the last Cabi­net meet­ing of 12 Septem­ber, 2016 the pro­pos­als were re­jected.

“The Pres­i­dent and Cabi­net want to as­sure the civil ser­vants, the farm­ers and the pub­lic at large that these pro­posed mea­sures are not friendly op­er­a­tive. It is hoped that this clar­i­fi­ca­tion puts to rest anx­i­eties that may have arisen within civil ser­vice, the farm­ing com­mu­nity and the pub­lic at large.”

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