Growth to transform conditions of civil servants 

Source: Growth to transform conditions of civil servants | The Herald

Growth to transform conditions of civil servants
Deputy Minister Clemence Chiduwa

Zvamaida Murwira

Senior Reporter

The Government has been committing at least 60 percent of its national budget to development as opposed to recurrent expenditure up from five percent as the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa is geared to turn the economy into an upper middle class by 2030, Senators have heard.

Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister Clement Chiduwa said the economy has surpassed the recovery stage but on a growth trajectory phase, which will ultimately transform the conditions of service of civil servants which the Government has constantly reviewed in recent months.

The Deputy Minister said this on Thursday during question and answer session in Senate.

Midlands Senator, Morgan Komichi (MDC-T) wanted to know what the Government was doing to match salaries for civil servants with what is obtaining in the Sadc region.

Deputy Minister Chiduwa said while the issue of conditions of service for civil servants was being held by the Joint Negotiation Council and the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, the country was guided by the desire to transform it into an upper middle economy by 2030.

“What I can say is as Treasury or Ministry of Finance or as Government, the trajectory is very clear in terms of where we are going as a country. We are guided by the policy. The policy is saying we want Zimbabwe to be an upper middle income economy by 2030. Surely as we move towards that vision the salary levels would move in tandem with the vision. We are having transitory problems – the problems are there because we are still at reforming stage and we are now in growth phase. If you check prior to 2017, more than 95% of our Budget was recurrent budget. Only 5% or less was devoted to development, but with the coming in of the Second Republic, you look at the proportion that we are allocating to development versus recurrent expenditure, at least 60% of the Budget is targeted towards development. For that reason, we have this balancing act that we are having,” said Deputy Minister Chiduwa.

He said Government remained committed to improve the conditions of service for civil servants.

“What I can assure Hon Senators is that we have the commitment to ensure that we improve the conditions of service for our people. This is an issue that we are dealing with on a daily basis. Just this month you will see that there will be some changes,” he said.

Harare Metropolitan Senator Elias Mudzuri (MDC-T) asked what the Government was doing to cushion workers from the effects of parallel market rates that had devalued the value of salaries.

Deputy Minister Chiduwa said the rise in parallel market rates were not anchored on valid economic fundamentals.

“We are equally worried with the movement in the exchange rate. We have said this before that the movement in the exchange rate, especially on the parallel market is not linked to fundamentals. The fundamentals that we look at that determine the movement in the exchange rate, we are looking at the external balance. Our current account is in surplus,” he said.

“You look at Government expenditure vis-à-vis the revenue that we are generating as Treasury. Since November 2018 we have not borrowed from the Central Bank. We live within our means. We run a cash budget. The release of resources follow a programme based budgeting. We have got liquidity management committee. You go to the monetary authorities, as I speak now the targeted reserve money growth is at 7.5% and it is really meant to squeeze all the liquidity that is in the market. These are the economic fundamentals that are supposed to determine the exchange rate.”

He said the parallel market was also being driven by behavioural legacy issues.

“What really is driving the black market rate? These are behavioral legacy issues to say we encountered this in 2008 and we are using the United States dollar as a store of value. The moment someone gets Zimbabwean dollar, they immediately change to United States dollar. People are saying the moment I get money I should convert it to United States dollar but because of benchmark pricing it has filtered to pricing models in the shops where you see that the pricing model is now following the parallel market rate. As a result of that, it is now affecting the livelihoods of our people,” he said.