Govt as­sures civil ser­vants of bonus

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Bu­l­awayo Bureau

FI­NANCE and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pro­fes­sor Mthuli Ncube yes­ter­day as­sured civil ser­vants of a bonus in­cen­tive for 2018 whose finer de­tails would be clar­i­fied in due course in line with on­go­ing fis­cal sta­bil­i­sa­tion mea­sures and recog­ni­tion of hard work.

Speak­ing on the state of the econ­omy at the on­go­ing 2019 Par­lia­men­tary pre-Bud­get con­fer­ence here, Prof Ncube stressed the need to in­stil fis­cal dis­ci­pline, the lack of which has been blamed for the bal­loon­ing Bud­get deficit in the last few years, re­sult­ing in pre­vail­ing eco­nomic chal­lenges.

In line with the Tran­si­tional Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Pro­gramme (TSP) and the drive to­wards an up­per mid­dle-in­come econ­omy by 2030, Prof Ncube said tam­ing pub­lic ex­pen­di­ture, es­pe­cially wage bill con­tain­ment, was at the heart of fis­cal sta­bil­i­sa­tion mea­sures while stim­u­lat­ing in­vest­ment.

He said civil ser­vants will be re­warded for their hard work.

“I feel that we need to walk the talk,” said Prof Ncube.

“In the pre­vi­ous bud­gets we have said we will do some­thing about mak­ing sure that we deal with this is­sue of freez­ing non-crit­i­cal posts, en­forc­ing re­tire­ment pol­icy.”

Min­is­ter Ncube said, “And the bonus, you know, should not be an en­ti­tle­ment, but it should be within af­ford­able lev­els.

“So, I won’t say what will hap­pen with bonus this year yet, but you can be sure that we are go­ing to do some­thing that will be a thank you to those who have worked so hard through the year, but at same time cog­nisant of the need to tighten our belts.”

Un­der the TSP (2018-2020) launched last month, Gov­ern­ment is al­ready im­ple­ment­ing a raft of belt-tight­en­ing mea­sures to sta­bilise the econ­omy.

Widen­ing Bud­get deficit es­ti­mated at $2,9 bil­lion in 2018 from $1,4 bil­lion in 2017, has be­come a headache to Gov­ern­ment with its crip­pling ef­fect ev­i­denced by the for­eign cur­rency squeeze and sub­se­quent strain on pro­duc­tive sec­tors, emer­gence of the par­al­lel mar­ket and ram­pant price distortions.

Th­ese chal­lenges need to be tack­led head-on, said Prof Ncube, who ral­lied the leg­is­la­ture and the pri­vate sec­tor to play their part and re­store san­ity in the coun­try’s econ­omy.

He noted that as ef­forts were be­ing made to un­lock in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in key sec­tors of the econ­omy such as agri­cul­ture, min­ing, tourism and ser­vices in­dus­tries, Trea­sury was also scal­ing up do­mes­tic rev­enue mo­bil­i­sa­tion, which will en­able Gov­ern­ment to fi­nance more devel­op­ment projects and in­crease so­cial ser­vices.

Prof Ncube said this re­quired tight­en­ing of sur­veil­lance at bor­der posts to weed out cor­rup­tion.

As such, Prof Ncube said, a new Zim­babwe Rev­enue Au­thor­ity board would be ap­pointed soon to do the “right thing” by deal­ing with graft and im­prov­ing rev­enue col­lec­tion.

Prof Ncube chal­lenged Zimra to work closely with the po­lice and give them the tools they need to po­lice borders, in­clud­ing use of drones.

Gov­ern­ment is also pay­ing crit­i­cal at­ten­tion to the ex­ter­nal sec­tor and is en­gag­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and multi-lat­eral fi­nance in­sti­tu­tions with the view of ad­dress­ing for­eign debt, which ham­pers the coun­try’s risk pro­file and abil­ity to un­lock fresh lines of credit.

In that re­gard, Prof Ncube ex­pressed con­cern over the di­lap­i­dated state of in­fra­struc­ture in key em­bassies such as South Africa, United States and the United King­dom.

“Th­ese are key mis­sions for Zim­babwe and I must say we need to sup­port those em­bassies, build­ings are fall­ing apart,” he said.

“We have got an am­bas­sador who walks in some streets of a par­tic­u­lar cap­i­tal city, we don’t have an of­fi­cial car to carry His Ex­cel­lency when he vis­its.

“While we ra­tio­nalise we need to pay at­ten­tion to th­ese key em­bassies and give a good image.”

Prof Ncube said there was no go­ing back re­gard­ing the re­form­ing State-owned en­ter­prises and paras­tatals some of which will be pri­va­tised or liq­ui­dated.

Prof Ncube

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