via Govt slashes ZBC salaries – DailyNews Live by Mugove Tafirenyika 30 JANUARY 2014
Government will slash the salaries of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) employees, because the wage bill was unsustainable, a top government official said yesterday.
Salaries for all employees at the State-run broadcaster will immediately revert back to those approved by the ZBC Board in 2010, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo told a news conference at Munhumutapa Building, the citadel of government power, in Harare yesterday.
Moyo said the current salaries at the State broadcaster were single-handedly approved by embattled former board chairperson Cuthbert Dube without the knowledge of the board.
Moyo said attempts by Dube’s board to justify their obscene salaries by illegally awarding workers at all levels a 100 percent increment, distorted ZBC’s salary structure which has led it into insolvency.
He said there was evidence of criminal abuse of funds at the national broadcaster which could see some employees being criminally charged after a forensic audit.
“In view of these anomalies, particularly the fact that the current salaries at ZBC were not approved by the board, it is necessary for ZBC to now revert with immediate effect to the salaries that were approved by the board for all staff levels in 2010,” Moyo said.
He said there was “prima facie evidence of abuse” at ZBC and that there has to be a link between what the broadcaster’s employees earn and what they produce.
“People don’t seem to have a realistic well-grounded value of the American dollar. These salaries (2010) are well within the current cost of living.
“So it is in this context that the unprocedural manner in which salary increments have been effected at ZBC is not different from theft by conversion,” he said.
Moyo also said government, through Treasury, had settled the outstanding salaries of the general staff as well as managers and heads of department.
He, however, said there were some unresolved issues around the salaries of executive staff and part time workers.
Moyo said the State broadcaster had been prejudiced through double dipping as some employees had contracts both as full time and part time workers.
“Furthermore, there are salary claims for 99 students who were said to be on attachment that require verification before payment,” Moyo said.
“Some 85 full time workers were also paid as part time workers. No employee can be full time and part time at one and the same time.
“Accordingly, the amounts which these employees were overpaid shall be recovered from their next pay,” Moyo told the news conference.
He said owing to corruption-induced insolvency, ZBC was no longer able to meet financial obligations “let alone afford its uneconomic wage bill”.
Workers at the insolvent public broadcaster have not been paid for up to seven months.
On the impending forensic audit, Moyo said the tender process for selecting independent auditors by the Comptroller and Auditor General is almost complete and will start next month.
The minister said a new ZBC board would be appointed soon with benefit from the findings of the forensic and turnaround audit.
Moyo was forced to dismiss the entire ZBC board and send the chief executive Happison Muchechetere home on forced leave after he failed to draft a turnaround strategy for the corporation after being given an ultimatum.
Muchechetere was reportedly taking home a package of up to $40 000 from a company whose monthly revenues top $275 000 per month, against a budget of $2,3 million of which $1,6 million should go to salaries.