Public Service Commission (PSC) secretary Jonathan Wutaunashe last week told Parliament that government did not factor in cost of living adjustments for civil servants in the 2019 proposed budget allocations so that the commission could cushion them from the high costs of living.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service chaired by Zanu PF legislator Esther Chikuni, Wutaunashe said the PSC had proposed a $242,3 million budget, but government only promised them $191, 6 million.
“The PSC 2019 proposed ideal budget totals of $242 309 450 against a ceiling budget of $191 665 000, which is a deviation of 27,72%,” Wutaunashe said.
“Meanwhile, the cost of living adjustment for 2019 for salary increases was not taken into account, based on the local inflation rate as defined by the consumer price index.”
Wutaunashe said the PSC was also working on weeding out ghost workers after joining forces with the Registrar-General’s Office to computerise systems so that deceased civil servants would immediately be struck off the payroll.
“On ghost workers, the commission is carrying out an audit to ensure they are exorcised, and there is work in progress with the Registrar-General’s Office that needs funding so that records are computerised to plug off deceased workers and pensioners.”
He said employment costs would gobble 96% of the budget ($184, 5 million), adding that teaching staff consumed the most from employment costs.
On rationalising the civil service, he said after the cutting off of some ministries by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the PSC was now looking at removing redundant posts and those positions where there was duplication of work in order to reduce the wage bill.
“We were able to implement the 17,5% special civil service allowance,” Wutaunashe said.
Meanwhile, the Labour and Social Welfare secretary Judith Katerera also told the same committee that the basic education assistance module (BEAM) owes $95 million since 2015.
The ministry was also riddled with several other debts that include arrears to the health assistance programme of $11,3 million dating back to 2014, $2,1 million arrears for office accommodation dating back to 2017, and $882 851 owed to TelOne for fixed telephone, $696 989 owed to CMED for vehicle hire and $614 476 owed for hire of security services.
The Labour ministry bided for $256 047 449 for 2019, but was promised only $83 449 000. The $83, 4 million budget that they were promised is far less than the $95 million BEAM debt.
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