By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
08 April 2014
Civil servants’ will finally get their much awaited salary increments this April, a senior government official has promised.
Finance ministry permanent secretary Willard Manungo told the Parliamentary committee on finance that the government is working hard to fulfill its pledge to increase the civil servants salaries.
According to a deal struck with the government in January, civil servants agreed to a $54 salary rise which will see the lowest paid person getting around $375 a month. Manungo told Parliament that the April salaries will be backdated to January. It is estimated that government will need about $50 million dollars to fulfill its pledge to civil servants.
But economic analysts said they see the government struggling to make good on its promises, especially as Manungo himself revealed that revenue targets set in the 2014 National Budget have not been met. He said revenue collected in the last three months is lower than envisaged and the treasury is running six percent below target.
Economist and finance committee member Eddie Cross, said despite Manungo’s ‘firm undertaking’ that government will be able to fulfill its promise he made no indication as to how that would be achieved.
Cross said: ‘The ministry of finance is in a very difficult situation. Not only has revenue declined but capital also continues to flee the country and the situation is serious. That’s why Manungo was vague and evasive and I didn’t blame him for that. He had to do his job and as a civil servant he cannot contradict government.’
The government has repeatedly promised to increase salaries but has so far failed to do this due to lack of funds. SW Radio Africa reported in February that finance and public service ministers Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche admitted to civil servants leaders that government was broke.
Ahead of the July 31st election President Mugabe and his ZANU PF party publicly promised to improve the salaries of civil servants once elected back into power. But since then the economy has been in serious decline, indicating a complete lack of trust in the government. This has also not been helped by the many reports that some senior executives in parastatals, including Mugabe’s aides, are looting public institutions. Some individual executives have been shown to be earning a monthly salary that could pay over 1,000 lower paid civil servants.