No salary cuts, bonuses to
stay: Chinamasa proposals
shot down

HARARE – The cash-strapped Zanu PF
government has reassured civil servants that
they will receive their traditional annual bonuses
and there will be no reduction of their salaries
and allowances as announced by Finance and
Economic Development Minister Patrick
Chinamasa last Thursday.
Information Minister Christopher Mushohwe
Government’s response was triggered by
Minister Chinamasa’s announcement, while
presenting the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review
statement, that civil servants’ bonuses would be
suspended for two years, while their salaries
and allowances would be reduced as part of
measures to bring the economy back on track.
However, Government yesterday said Cabinet
had rejected the proposals when Minister
Chinamasa presented them on July 12 this year
and they should not have been factored into the
statement.
In a statement yesterday, Information, Media
and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr
Christopher Mushohwe said it had become
necessary to clarify Government’s position in
view of genuine concerns within the civil service
on their conditions of service and job security
and on farmers in respect of agricultural pricing
for the 2016-2017 maize crop.
In his statement, Minister Chinamasa proposed a
reduction in salaries and allowances for civil
servants, suspension of bonuses, taxation of
allowances for civil servants, the introduction of
vehicle loan schemes from director grade going
downwards and import parity pricing for maize
for the 2016-17 season among other measures.
However, said Dr Mushohwe: “For the record,
the above proposals were tabled before Cabinet
by the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development on July 12, 2016 as part of cost-
cutting measures to facilitate economic
recovery.
“After extensive deliberations, cost-cutting
measures relating to the civil service were
rejected and the position of Cabinet is that the
Minister of Finance and Economic Development
did not take into account the rejection by
Cabinet earlier on. Once again, at the last
Cabinet of 12 September, 2016 the proposals
were rejected.
“The President and Cabinet want to assure the
civil servants, the farmers and the public at
large that these proposed measures are not
friendly operative. It is hoped that this
clarification puts to rest anxieties that may
have arisen within civil service, the farming
community and the public at large.”
In the statement presented in Parliament,
Minister Chinamasa said, Government had
embarked on a civil service restructuring
exercise, which included a reduction in
employment numbers adding that it would also
rationalise the number of embassies and
consulates, review class travel arrangements of
all officials including ministers,
parliamentarians, independent commissions and
authorities and State enterprises’ officials and
a reduction in foreign allowances.
The measures were expected to reduce
employment costs to around 60 percent of total
revenues by 2019 from the current 97 percent
and ultimately redirect revenue towards capital
expenditure, which was expected to stimulate
production.
Minister Chinamasa said fiscal space remained
tight as revenues consistently underperformed
while expenditures continued to outstrip
targets. He said Government would continue
with rationalisation and realignment measures
already approved by Cabinet, which would reduce
the baseline public employment costs by around
$118 million by end of 2016.
Already some of the key Wage Bill Rationalisation
Measures have since been implemented, and are
already yielding monthly savings of around $6,5
million, effective January 1 2016, he argued.
Minister Chinamasa said to reinforce the
measures while creating scope for financing
drought, debt service and other capital and
operations programmes, Government would
reduce salaries and allowances by 5 and 20
percent starting with deputy directors to
ministers effective