‘Mugabe bonus decision dashes recovery prospects‘

via ‘Mugabe bonus decision dashes recovery prospects‘ – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 22, 2015

LOCAL economists and financial experts have warned that President Robert Mugabe’s decision to override Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s recent suspension of civil service bonuses would scuttle any prospects of early economic recovery given the country’s squeezed revenue base.

by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

Mugabe took government and Zanu PF officials by surprise on Independence Day last Saturday when he reversed Chinamasa’s decision to suspend government employees’ 13th cheque, saying his government could not afford to withdraw workers’ legal benefits.

Independent economist John Robertson said the awarding of bonuses should be based on State revenue levels.

“The budget is already strained, tax revenues are falling and the 2015 budget is already out of step,” Robertson said.

He added: “Chinamasa has got a serious problem on how he can make the revenue improve or increase tax on the heavily-taxed taxpayers. The other option is to borrow, but there are a few new people ready to lend Zimbabwe money because of its poor record in paying back loans.”

The other option, Robertson added, would be to print more money, but this was not feasible in a dollarised economy.

“In other countries they devalue their currencies so that they can pay their bonuses, but Zimbabwe can’t do that because we don’t have a currency,” he said.

Another economist, Maxwell Saungweme, said: “It means the fiscal deficit will continue to balloon as civil service salaries constitute more than 90% of the budget. We are the only country in the region with such a huge civil service wage bill.”

He said the country had to immediately restructure both the civil service and Executive if the economy was to perform better.

“Cutting civil service bonuses alone is not the panacea. We need a whole civil service audit, including trimming of government ministries to, say, only 16 and getting rid of unnecessary packages, unnecessary deputy ministers and remain with a lean and efficient civil service,” Saungweme said.

Zimbabwe currently has nearly 500 000 civil servants with over 70 000 believed to be ghost workers.

The government has since launched a second civil service human and skills audit with a view to retrench excess staff.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 3
  • comment-avatar

    Dammmnnnn these economist and/or commenters. The issue is not about civil servants’ salaries @ all. Otherwise one would then simply say, lets stop paying civil servants’ salaries for 6 months or so & the country’s economy will be back on track. Can that ever be the case guyz; would that be some kind of vudoo economics, or even worse still some kind of Gono-mics?

    Bottom line is things are fundamentally wrong in the country – stopping bonuses or even salaries will not solve these fundamental issue. Hazvitombodi rocket science kana rocket economics. So lets stop this unwarranted hullaballoo about civil servants’ bonuses and/or salaries. If anything we should be shouting about whether it is justified for one civil servant to be earning as much as US$12000/month, regardless of their job, while an equally qualified or even more qualified, civil servant, is earning less than US$5000/year. Such obscene discrepancies among individuals who are employed by the same employer are the issues which people should be debating about – not whether an honest civil servant have to be paid or not. Goosssh! Or, better still, could be to talk about the well known presence of a huge number of gost civil servants, who are there to serve zanu pf interests @ election times.

    • comment-avatar
      kalulu 6 years ago

      You are right my friend in your analysis regarding the discrepancy between the president’s salary of US12,000.00 and what the other civil servants are getting. The problem is that even if the president’s salary is reduced he will not stop dipping his fingers into the state coffers because his official salary is just a smokescreen of his nefarious activities.

  • comment-avatar
    Michael 6 years ago

    The first step should start from the top. Mugabe –

    * should stop his continuous foreign travel escapades and the huge number of people making up his entourage – that would save millions;

    * should get rid of the corrupt bootlickers in his cabinet and reduce to cabinet to a reasonable level – there should eb a cabinet with some deputies to not more than 20 Ministers and Deputy Ministers;

    * should stop the public service being a means of vote-buying in elections by appointing its supporters – who after elections become “ghost members” still drawing their salaries;

    * should trim the civil service to acceptable level and implement a policy that not more than 50% of State Budget should be salary related expenditure or at least work towards achieving that objective.

    Efficiency should become the norm – not buying of votes by corrupt means.