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Zimbabwe Civil Servants Raise Objections to World Bank Subsidy Program

Controversy has arisen in Zimbabwe over the disbursement of World Bank funds provided to the government to keep skilled professionals in the country.

The Multi-Donor Trust Fund, administered by the World Bank, has been supplementing the salaries of skilled civil servants to retain them, regardless of political affiliation.

Most civil servants earn only US$150 a month, but those receiving allowances are said to be receiving as much as US$3,500 dollars a month.

The state-run Herald newspaper, closely aligned with the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe, charged that the main beneficiaries were loyalists of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Herald also accused the prime minister of running a "parallel government" whose staff received higher salaries than official public servants of the Zimbabwean government. But he told ZimOnline this week that the public service refuses to officially appoint his staff.

Government sources said they did not know why offices controlled by ZANU-PF were not drawing upon the fund. VOA was unable to obtain comment from ZANU-pf on the issue.

Acting Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Ndlovu of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association told reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that a fund to retain skilled workers is a good idea, but secrecy surrounding it has caused misgivings among civil servants.

Members of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association are currently on strike over salaries.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...