PUBLIC servants and members of the uniformed forces have started benefiting from low-interest loans from the Government Employees Mutual Savings Fund (GEMS Fund), a facility set up to enhance their welfare and conditions of service.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Professor Paul Mavima, yesterday said: “We are happy that civil servants are going to get low-interest loans under GEMS because this shows commitment to innovativeness by the Government.
“It also shows the sincerity on the part of the Government because we are trying as much as possible to improve the conditions of service of the civil servants.”
Prof Mavima said the GEMS facility undercuts loan sharks that were preying on civil servants.
“So, with this fund, civil servants are getting loans at very concessionary rates and also the amount they will get should do a lot of things including housing development or starting up small income generating projects, which will improve their livelihoods.
“We are very happy about it and we are confident that it will be a game changer especially in making sure that civil servants keep a lot more of their money instead of having it taken by loan sharks,” he said.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association president, Mr Richard Gundani, said educators were among many public servants who were applying for the fund.
“We will support the members who want the loan and also those who don’t want it. But a lot of our members have shown that they want it and we hope it will benefit them,” he said.
Secretary for the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Mr Walter Chikwana said the fund was benefiting employees under the commission across the country.
“Various members of staff from the different JSC departments across the country from Plumtree, Bulawayo to Harare for example have benefited from the loan and more will benefit,” said Mr Chikwana.