World Bank to audit Zim civil service

via World Bank to audit Zim civil service – DailyNews Live 18 DECEMBER 2014 by KUDZAI CHAWAFAMBIRA

HARARE – Zimbabwe will engage the World Bank on its plans to audit the civil service, as the country moves to curb its excessive recurrent expenditure, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said.

This comes as nearly 100 percent of government’s revenue is going towards civil service wages, with Chinamasa recently acknowledging that 81 percent of his 2015 national budget will foot government employees’ salaries.

Also, the International Monetary Fund has insisted — through a recommended staff monitored programme — that Zimbabwe audits its civil service to weed out ghost workers and reduce its wage bill.

“We need to know the state of affairs, who is who within the payroll and if they are giving us value for money.

“We need to ascertain whether they are any duplication and if they are skilled people are in the right places,” the Treasury chief said yesterday.

“I would want to see what options are there from a technical point of view…. it’s an exercise which we cannot prescribe solutions without basically knowing what we are dealing with,” he said.

He added that government will seek funding to finance the exercise while it will also rely on the World Bank’s technical assistance.

Chinamasa noted that the newly-established Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund would give him flexibility to fund some government programmes such as the government employees’ audit.

He noted that the last civil service audit — carried out during former Finance minister Tendai Biti’s reign three years ago — was not completed.

“I want to think that the political situation was poisoned for that

exercise to be completed. But now, I don’t see any problem with coming up with a comprehensive exercise,” he said.

According to recent reports, government workers increased from 319 000 in 2009 to 554 000 this year.

Recently, renowned economist Tony Hawkins said Zimbabwe had a high public spending to gross domestic product ratio of 31 percent compared to a sub-Saharan average of 24 percent, leaving its economy with no fiscal space.

“In other words it is essential to cut spending since the gap cannot be closed by revenue measures,” he said.WB to audit Zim civil service

Meanwhile, the World Bank (WB) — together with other developmental partners — plans to advance Zimbabwe $100 million as part of strategies towards financial re-engagement with the hard-pressed southern African country.

The money would be channelled to the newly-established Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (Zimref), created to expand WB’s economic activities and capacity building.

Kundhavi Kadiresan, WB’s country director, said “contributions coming from many developmental partners have amounted to $40 million.

“We expect in the coming year to easily

increase it to $100 million,” she said, adding that “the main purpose of this fund is to basically help us to expand our activities here and it will go beyond technical assistance, capacity building and analytical work.” She said, for the first time, the fund would also include investment projects.

“We will be working very closely with government on some of the priority areas which the Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has actually spelt out in helping them implement ZimAsset. So this cross fund will allow all those areas both in terms of policy priorities and investment projects for the government,” she said.