Why Zimbabwe cannot pay civil servants a living wage


Zimbabwe cannot pay its civil servants salary increases to meet the poverty datum line because this will fuel inflation, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told the Senate last week.

Ncube said as soon as the government announces salary adjustments for civil servants prices go up even before the salaries have been paid.

Commenting on contributions from senators during the debate on the supplementary budget he introduced last month, Ncube said the government’s intention is to get to 75% of the PDL.

Fifty-three percent of the supplementary budget is going to salaries for civil servants but senators said the salaries for civil servants as well as those for legislators were still too low and should at least aim to meet the poverty datum line.

“Typically, we target 75% of the PDL,” Ncube responded. “Our intention is to get to that 75% of PDL as we do these adjustments. 

“Why do we target 75%? We always feel that as economists, if we get to 100% and we try to match, we will actually end up fuelling inflation. 

“As soon as we announce a salary increase, prices go up before you even pay. We try to manage that way. I do not know whether we are very successful because just a mere announcement does stuff, but we target 75% of PDL.”

The poverty datum line for August was $26 623 for one person.

According to the 2022 census, the average family in Zimbabwe is now four persons.


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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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