via Work to trim civil service begins | The Herald March 25, 2015
Government has tasked the Ministry of Finance to co-ordinate efforts to reduce the huge wage bill chewing over 80 percent of the National Budget with a head count of personnel and their duties having been recently initiated as part of efforts to trim the civil service.
A senior Government official yesterday confirmed that the Civil Service Commission had initiated a head count of personnel and their duties.
It is also reported that some civil servants who are on leave have been or will be called back to their stations for the head count.
The ministries Finance, Public Service and Social Welfare and the CSC were tasked to find ways of reducing the wage bill in line with earnings generated by Government.
It is understood that the Government total workforce rose from 315 000 in 2009 to 554 000 this year.
CSC chairman Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwa yesterday confirmed that a committee had been set up to look at ways of trimming the civil service.
“It’s a committee headed by Minister (Patrick) Chinamasa, but I am not a member of that committee.
“I think it is advisable to get more details from the horse’s mouth,” said Dr Nzuwa.
Although efforts to contact Cde Chinamasa failed last night, he recently told the media after a meeting of the Zambezi Authority Council of Ministers in Victoria Falls last Friday that both the Government and the private sector had to adjust to the current economic reality to survive.
“Cabinet mandated the Public Service Commission (now Civil Service Commission) and us (Finance ministry) to look at the wage bill and identify possible ways that can be used to effect its reduction. We have been holding meetings whose details I can’t give now because recommendations have to go to Cabinet first,” said Cde Chinamasa.
The Minister said there was a need to reduce the wage bill in line with the revenue collections and was also exploring ways of amending labour laws to make it flexible when companies want to retrench personnel.
While Public Service and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira could not be reached for comment as she is out of the country on business, she recently said the Government was facing serious financial challenges and that there was need to deal with the huge salary bill which has become unsustainable in light of little productivity in the economy.
“The Government is facing serious financial challenges and it’s not a secret. We have to revisit the size of the civil servants’ salary bill, which is taking 80 percent percent of the budget,” Cde Mupfumira was quoted saying.
Cde Mupfumira said this while touring Bulawayo’s social security facilities where she also said negotiations with civil servants were on-going as the Government was striving for a win-win situation. She said the Government was exploring ways of providing non-monetary benefits to civil servants and ruled out salary adjustments.