via Civil service bonus rolls in | The Herald November 15, 2013 by Felex Share
IT was a case of smiling all the way to the bank yesterday as some civil servants started receiving their bonuses with those in the education sector expected to get their 13th cheque next month. Members of the Zimbabwe National Army started withdrawing their bonuses yesterday and other members of the uniformed forces would get theirs on their pay date on November 26.
The bonus was calculated using the existing taxation rates due to delays in the announcement of the 2014 National Budget.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said that the delays would allow for wider consultations.
The National Budget sets the tax threshold on bonuses and many companies only proceed with bonus payment after the tax-free threshold is announced in the Budget Statement.
Junior members of the ZNA who earn an average of US$400 had over US$800 deposited into their accounts for this month.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu yesterday confirmed the development and said that those in the education sector would get theirs bonus next month.
He applauded Government for sticking to its promise.
“When we checked with authorities, they told us that we, in the education sector, would get ours (bonuses) next month as has been the case in the last few years,” he said.
“Soldiers and other uniformed forces will get theirs this month, which they have started to do and the fact that they have been paid means that we are now certain that the money is coming. If they had not been paid then we would have been worried.”
Added Mr Ndlovu: “Minister Chinamasa made it clear in Victoria Falls that we would start accessing our bonuses this month and we are happy Government has stuck to its promise. Our focus, however, is mainly on the National Budget as we are expecting salaries that are in line with the Poverty Datum Line.”
The Zanu-PF Government resolved at its Politburo meeting last week that civil servants, who have been underpaid during the tenure of the inclusive Government, should get a salary increment that is in line with the PDL.
Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Manuel Nyawo said on top of bonuses, they were also expecting the “token increment” Government had promised them before the end of the year.
“It is now confirmed that bonuses will be paid because members of the uniformed forces have started getting it,” he said.
“There is no way Government would treat its workers differently and it is our hope that the salary token we were promised will be effected next month.
“It is a reasonable salary increment, come January next year that can transform the lives of the civil servants and our eyes are on next month’s National Budget.”
The PDL — which is the consumer basket for a family of six — stands at US$540 per month and this is the threshold civil servants set in their position paper.
The lowest-paid Government worker take home US$297.
Civil servants failed to get a meaningful salary increment for the past five years due to policy inconsistencies by MDC-T ministers in the then inclusive Government, many of whom despite having a trade union background, shut the door in the faces of the needy Government workers.
The then Finance Minister Tendai Biti repeatedly told the civil servants that Government was broke, while his Public Service counterpart Lucia Matibenga arrogantly evaded the workers in times of negotiations.
President Mugabe has indicated, on different platforms, that the new Zanu-PF Government prioritises the welfare and conditions of service for civil servants and would improve them.