Chinamasa ducks on firing civil servants to reduce wage bill says we will deal with ghost workers first


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Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said though he was determined to reduce the government wage bill from 83 percent to 40 percent, this will not involve any firing of civil servants. Instead, the government will to grow the economy and weed out ghost workers.

Chinamasa said the present situation was unworkable because the government could not construct schools, roads and clinics because there was no money.

He, however, said the reduction of the wage bill would not be done overnight.

“It is my intention that we reduce the wage bill from 85% to 40%, this is a process and not an event. We know that for a long time, we will be dealing with that and I will reduce the wage bill gradually. The steps that we are going to take to reduce the wage bill are that firstly, we must ensure that our economy grows.

“We should grow the cake, if the cake is small, not much can go around our priority areas. Once the cake is grown, each ministry or each person that benefits from the budget would be in a position to use sufficient budget. Once there is a growth in the community or the economy, then our wages will be a very small proportion of the bigger cake, that is the other method…..

“The other alternative that we can use is that we should come up with other measures that are possible to ensure that government workers become more productive, but firstly, we need to understand who the workers are and whether there are no ghost workers.

“Hence, we conducted an audit and the audits are going to be done in the entire civil service so that payment cannot be made to ghost workers or even workers that are already deceased…..

“We are not going to be chasing away or sacking anyone. I do not know where that is coming from, but if you are a ghost worker, then you are not there. You should not be receiving a salary because you are not entitled to it since you are not working. Those that are working, are not going to be sacked,” he said.


Q & A:


*SENATOR CHIMHINI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. There is discussion around the reduction of the Government wage bill from 83% to 40% of the national budget. The question is, what measures are you likely to take to reduce that wage bill expenditure from 83% to 40% as you retrench these workers? What method are you going to use? Others have been bold enough to say that you could also be fired? What measures are you going to put in place? I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): I thank you Madam President. I want to thank Senator Chimhini for the question which is in regards to the reduction of the wage bill from 85% to 40%. It means that from 100%, 85% goes towards wage bill and not much is left for operations. There is no funding that is left behind for capital projects such as the construction of roads, schools and infrastructure. Our budget is consumptive and that is the problem that we have with our budget and the problem that the country is facing.

It is my hope that we will be able to do what we can do within our means to reduce the wage bill so that we can be able to remain with funds for the construction of schools, roads, clinics and other operations.

This cannot be done overnight. As I earlier on said, it is my intention that we reduce the wage bill from 85% to 40%, this is a process and not an event. We know that for a long time, we will be dealing with that and I will reduce the wage bill gradually. The steps that we are going to take to reduce the wage bill are that firstly, we must ensure that our economy grows. We should grow the cake, if the cake is small, not much can go around our priority areas. Once the cake is grown, each ministry or each person that benefits from the budget would be in a position to use sufficient budget. Once there is a growth in the community or the economy, then our wages will be a very small proportion of the bigger cake, that is the other method. That is the line of thinking that we are using with a view to reduce the workers wage bill. There is no mandatory issue as regards the reduction of the civil servants salaries.

If we grow the economy from US$100 to US$2b, it would mean that the wage bill for civil servants would now be proportionate to the US$2b or US$5b or US$10b because we will be having more money.

This is all achievable if the economy is grown because the income would have also grown. In that regard, we would be able to reduce the wage bill for civil servants. The other alternative that we can use is that we should come up with other measures that are possible to ensure that Government workers become more productive, but firstly, we need to understand the workers are and whether there are no ghost workers.

Hence, we conducted an audit and the audits are going to be done in the entire civil service so that payment can not be made to ghost workers or even workers that are already deceased.

A few weeks ago, we conducted an audit for the pensioners to establish the strength of our pensioners so as to ensure that we eliminate those that are receiving payment when they are deceased, because in terms of the Pension Fund, you are not entitled to a pension fund if you are deceased although your remaining spouse and children are entitled to a reduced fund. We are not going to be chasing away or sacking anyone. I do not know where that is coming from, but if you are a ghost worker, then you are not there. You should not be receiving a salary because you are not entitled to it since you are not working. Those that are working, are not going to be sacked. I thank you Madam President.

(257 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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