The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government has introduced a new civil servants remuneration system that will see teachers, nurses and other health workers being paid or allocated resources through their specific programmes and sub-programmes with effect from July as part of a programme based budgeting which has now been adopted.
Although the Ministry of Finance, who are the architects of the programme were not readily available to comment, programme-based budgeting refers to a process where money or resources are distributed according to the nature of activities performed by those involved in the programme. This has sent jitters among civil servants with some suspecting that the
Government was introducing a process where they will be paid according to their workload.
Contacted for comment, Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango said: “This has to do with the employer and is not under my jurisdiction.”
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Cde Prisca Mupfumira however, said although she has heard about the new system, she was out of the country in recent weeks and needed time to consult her ministry officials to get a picture of the new development.
“I have been hearing a lot concerning that issue but as the employer I am not aware of its implementation as yet, I will have to find out from my officials, maybe by Monday (tomorrow) I will have something tangible. However, I must emphasise that it will be highly impossible for this system to be implemented without any consultations,” said Minister Mupfumira.
According to a circular dated 9 June 2017 that was sent to provincial education directors by the director of human resources in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (Southern Region) a Mr Muguse, the system will come into effect from 1 July and pioneered in three ministries: Primary and Secondary Education, Health and Child Care and that of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Other ministries will be taken on board later this year.
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is implementing the programme based remuneration as part of the programme based budgeting adopted by the Government of Zimbabwe. Under programme based budgeting (employment costs), all staff members will be paid their salaries through their specific programmes and sub-programmes with effect from July 2017. Other ministries will be taken on board later this year,” reads part of the circular.
The circular added that those that fall under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education mainly teachers must have submitted specific information that would determine in which programme they fall under. According to the circular, headmasters were supposed to have put their staff in the specific programmes by Friday last week to district offices, which should then be forwarded to provincial offices by Friday of which the information would be sent to the head office and be ready by end of this month.
According to the circular, teachers were supposed to provide details of their names, designation and EC number. In addition they are also supposed to include which Grade (Primary) and Forms (Secondary) they are teaching. For Primary school teachers they also indicate if they are teaching junior infant education (ECD A to Grade 2) or junior education (Grade 3-7).
For secondary education the teachers should also detail if they teach just secondary education (Form 1-6) or special needs.
The circular added that teachers must also add information on non-formal education activities they were involved in.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and his Secretary Mr Willam Manungo could not be contacted to clarify on the issues.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer Mr Sifiso Ndlovu said the new programme might create division among teachers as the assumption would be that some were not working. He, however, said the programme could be used to allocate other resources, not salaries.
“According to my understanding this is just a budget analysis tool that will mainly focus on the allocation of resources through programmatic budgeting. For example it will focus on teachers dividing them in terms of levels, like junior and infant, the system won’t affect the salary scale at all but instead will focus on the allocation of resources focusing on job activities, meaning to say teachers in the infant level will be prioritised in the allocation of resources because of the demand of the job.
“However, this should not be viewed as a means of creating disparities within the sector as some circles are trying to purport, of which I feel the Government could have done a lot in terms of educating civil servants on what exactly this system pertains, if anything I feel it is a step in the right direction, as an association we will also play our part in terms of conscientising our membership,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Dr Takavafira Zhou said they were fears the new method could see the Government cut some teachers’ salaries as they would accuse them of not fulfilling their programme requirements.
“This is just an abnormal procedure meant to keep teachers unnecessarily busy and which is not adding any value to the sector. Honestly, it is an insult because they are reducing teachers to clerical duties, how can they be forced to define what they do, something which must be done by the employer.
“What we foresee is that there will come a time when some teachers’ salaries will be slashed as they will be told they are not fulfilling their mandate. The Government is forgetting that the job of teaching is not only the mandate of the teachers but is an all stakeholder approach hence it is unfair to put the entire weight on the teacher alone,” said Dr Zhou.
Health Services Board chairperson Dr Lovemore Mbengeranwa said while he was aware that the Government was in the process of rolling out the new payment system he said details were still sketchy.
“Yes, I am aware that there have been meetings held with the Finance Ministry dealing with this new system but as of now I cannot really say what it pertains; we are waiting for further communication,” said Dr Mbengeranwa.