Government Unsure On Civil Servants Bonus

UBLIC Service minister Sekai Nzenza on Thursday told Senate that payment of civil servants’ bonuses this year was uncertain as she was yet to negotiate the issue with Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.

Civil servants traditionally receive bonuses from November, but in the last few years, the gratuities for the 250 000-strong workforce have been staggered to the following year due to a financial squeeze.

The issue was raised by senator Chief Zama Nthua Mkwananzi Ngungumbane, who demanded that Nzenza must clarify the issue of bonuses since the year was coming to an end.

“At this stage, we are reviewing our pension funds and the wage bill, which also includes the bonuses,” Nzenza said.

“Given the current economic turmoil, we would also take that into consideration and if you can bear with me for a while, we will be able to get back to you with the correct information. I am not able to answer your question at this stage. That question can only be answered in consultation with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and all the other ministers involved.”

In July, just a few days before the elections, the cash-strapped government dangled a 17,5% special civil service allowance with other incentives like cash in-lieu of leave (CIL) for teachers who had accrued more than 123 days’ vacation leave, from reduction and alignment of rentals at institutional accommodation to housing allowances paid to various grades of civil servants.

The civil service wage bill has been chocking government and the economy as it gobbles 91% of the national budget. In 2017, government proposed to cut the wage bill from 91% to 50% by 2019.

Harare Metropolitan senator Elias Mudzuri (MDC Alliance) said government should also accept that civil servants’ salaries were designated to dollars.

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