The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
THE Government has reaffirmed its commitment to retain critical skills and has activated the Skills Attraction, Retention and Development Fund, with the first phase set to target 11 critical skills whose salaries will be benchmarked on local and regional earnings.
The fund was set up to galvanise the Public Service Commission’s quest to attract highly skilled and experienced professionals at all levels to drive Government’s development trajectory which is premised on the attainment of an upper middle-income society by 2030.
Also, the fund is mandated to attract skills and competencies necessary to drive the devolved structures of Government and bring into reality the devolution and decentralisation agenda as well strengthening the capacity of the commission to retain critical skills as well as prevent skills flight.
In a statement, the commission’s Secretary Dr Tsitsi Choruma revealed that the payment of the retention allowance was being taken from $1.512 billion that was allocated by Treasury towards the fund.
“The Public Service Commission has been ceased with addressing the need to pay a retention allowance for members of staff in critical manpower shortage areas.
“It is against this background, that the Commission is advising all Heads of Ministries on the first phase of payment of the retention allowance under the Skills Attraction, Retention and Development Fund (SARDF).
“The Public Service Commission was allocated ZW$1,512 billion by Treasury for the year 2023 for the SARDF. This amount will be utilised to pay retention allowances to members occupying the critical manpower shortage areas for grades from Deputy Director and below as identified by the Commission,” said Dr Choruma.
In the first batch, the commission has identified 11 job categories which include engineers, Information Communication Technology (ICT) specialists, mining surveyors, forensic scientists, architects, veterinary officers, quantity surveyors, social development officers, psychologists, metallurgists and legal drafters.
“Cognisant of the budget constraints, the commission has limited the first batch of beneficiaries to the above listed categories. The identification was based on the high level of attrition in these job categories and also the difficulty in filling the posts once a vacancy arises.
“The retention allowance for these job categories will be paid with effect from May 2023. The payment will be pegged at 70 percent of the basic salary of the member’s grade.
“The retention allowance has been determined using the salary levels obtaining in the market as observed from different salary surveys both locally and regionally,” said Dr Choruma.
The commission’s secretary said with additional budget support, more job categories will be added and the retention allowance will be improved.