New salary offer for civil servants …as Govt plans to build flats for workers, vendors

23 May, 2021 - 00:05 0 Views
New salary offer for civil servants …as Govt plans to build flats for workers, vendors Professor Paul Mavima

The Sunday News

Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
A technical team constituted by the Government is set to table a report this week that will determine a new salary offer that will be taken by the employer to its workers as negotiations over civil servants remuneration continue.

In March, Government and its employees reached a deadlock after failing to agree on a new salary structure after the employer tabled a 25 percent salary increase, with a promise to further increase salaries periodically.

Although there was a deadlock, the Government in May effected the adjustment that saw the lowest paid worker being paid US$205 equivalent on the interbank exchange rate in April, while another 45 percent review will be effected at the end of June.

Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima told Sunday News yesterday that technical personnel were preparing a report after which Government will be able to table another offer to civil servants.

“For now, our technical people are compiling a report on the issue, once it is done we will look at it as a ministry then we go back to the negotiating table with Government workers. As you might know this will be the third session of these negotiations, therefore, we are hopeful that this time around we will reach an agreement for progress sake,” said Prof Mavima.

Some civil servants such as teachers responded by unilaterally reducing the number of days they were reporting for duty claiming incapacitation. The Government then came up with a policy of no work no pay. Prof Mavima said he did not have figures offhand of the number of civil servants who have since received reduced salaries due to absenteeism.

“Those are technical matters, as Government we came up with the policy and in terms of implementing, that part is done by the Public Service Commission,” said the Minister.

Meanwhile, civil servants and vendors who form a huge chunk for people on the housing waiting list are set to benefit from high-rise residential accommodation units in that will be built in Bulawayo and other parts of the country. Cabinet has since approved the Zimbabwe Human Settlements Policy (2020) whose bearing evolves around facilitating the provision of affordable housing and social amenities, infrastructure in urban and rural areas, developing and monitoring National Housing Demand Database.

The policy also talks about densification and it specifically indicates that 40 percent of the construction that the Government or private sector will engage on, must be on densification which means having high rise buildings as land is not finite.

The Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities has been meeting stakeholders and partners throughout the country to find workable solutions to reduce the numbers on the housing waiting lists and also to ensure that people have access to affordable housing.

National Housing and Social Amenities Deputy Minister Cde Yeukai Simbanegavi who was in Bulawayo last week said the Government was in the process of engaging stakeholders who will partner it in delivering the housing units.

“We are here today meeting the Resident Minister of State Cde Judith Ncube to discuss on the modalities as Government working on provision of social housing for Bulawayo Province. We are working on ensuring that the housing backlog that is in Bulawayo Province of about 20 000 units is worked on and Government has come up with a variety of programmes that include the Government itself trying to make sure that houses are built,” she said.

She said apart from funding from Government they still needed partners to aid in the massive projects.

“We have had a budget of $1.3 billion coming in from Treasury nationwide. In terms of provision of social housing, Government cannot go it alone so we have also come up with programmes of partnering up with the private sector.

We are looking at our own local institutions that include local authorities and private partners. We have met with some partners to find ways of working together. Local authorities and private institutions can further discuss the modalities on partnerships for building houses for our residents that do not earn high incomes including vendors,” she added.

Cde Simbanegavi said there have been concerns raised over civil servants as most of them do not have decent accommodation.

“These kinds of programmes we have brought to the city will also aim at ensuring that our civil servants can also be able to have access to decent accommodation where they can be able to build houses for themselves and their families or have already built affordable houses that they can also be able to buy on payment plans so that as people who work for the Government, they can become property owners and to have accommodation that is closer to their working areas,” she added.

Cde Simbanegavi said it was vital to adhere to the demands of the Human Settlements Policy which advocates for high rise building construction so as to conserve land.

“If we keep building houses everywhere, the land is eventually going to become scarce for further generations. The issue of high-rise buildings is very critical for the New Dispensation, we will make sure that every project that is done will also look at the possibility of having high rise structures,” she said.

Cde Ncube said there was a need for strong partnerships to ensure that the vision is achieved.

“Our role as Government is to facilitate the process, we have brought the bank and the local authority today so that we look into this critical issue of housing in Bulawayo. In our discussions we are saying let the players meet and discuss further, as Government we need results, we would want to closely monitor the programme. I want to assure residents that once everything is done, they will be happy with the developments,” said Cde Ncube.

Under the National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025) housing delivery priority area, Government is looking at delivering 220 000 housing units and Bulawayo Metropolitan Province has a provisional target of 20 000 units.

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