The Sunday News
THE Government last week announced that it had released $300 million for civil servants cushioning allowances, which came after an earlier announcement of salary adjustments.
Civil servants were offered a 100 percent salary increase that will result in the least paid worker taking home $2 033, up from $1 023 per month. They also received $750 as a cushioning allowance for January. Civil servants however, rejected the increase, demanding to be paid an equivalent of US$475 for the lowest paid worker.
Nonetheless, what is important is that Government has continued to show a clear commitment to look after its workers. Civil servants have of late been getting periodic salary increments and allowances to cushion them against the harsh economic environment.
The Government therefore has to be commended for its continued efforts to improve the welfare of its workers at a time when there are other competing interests that require funding from central government.
Issues to do with fuel, electricity and maize, all require urgent attention from Government, but that has not deterred the Government from making sure that its workers are looked after.
We acknowledge that workers want more and the cost of living continues to rise, but the efforts from their employer cannot go unnoticed.
We therefore appeal to civil servants to show appreciation to the efforts being made by their employer. There is no need to down tools, as that would disturb service delivery in various sectors of the economy, and disturb all efforts to turn around the country’s economic fortunes.
As Finance and Economic Development Ministry permanent secretary Mr George Guvamatanga said, the New Dispensation should be given credit for meeting its financial obligations.
“I am happy to announce that the money for the cushioning allowances for civil servants was released to individual banks and it’s now just a matter of banks processing the payments to individual accounts. We are also processing salaries for those civil servants whose salaries are due like the security sector,” he said.
He said the release of the allowance money on time was a confirmation that Government was in full control of its cash inflows and funding to meet its obligations. He said 13 or 14 months ago, civil servants didn’t have a fixed pay date but the New Dispensation had announced pay dates for the whole year showing that it is organised.
“We paid bonuses at the same time and Government should be given credit for that,” he said.
Mr Guvamatanga said Government was alive to the challenges and hardships being faced by civil servants and is committed to finding lasting solutions.
“We are on a journey as we work on our economy and we will not rest until we reach a time when the civil servants are paid a living wage and are happy,” he said.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Dr Sifiso Ndlovu said they were hopeful that once the money reflects in bank accounts, some teachers who had failed to report for duty on the opening day will travel to their respective work stations.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube is on record as saying Government was seized with addressing the issue of salaries for civil servants, although it had other pressing issues that also required equal attention.
He said the issues included ensuring national food security, power generation, job creation and stabilising the local currency.