Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa on Thursday announced that the cash-strapped and bloated government has suspended bonus payments for civil servants in an attempt to reduce its recurrent expenditure.
But the move has been condemned by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the National Constitutional Assembly and the Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe.
Chinamasa said they took this bold step in order to reduce the wage bill which is taking no less than 82 percent of the budget.
He said in 2014 the government bonus bill stood at $172.6 million, the major chunk of which had to be paid in the first quarter of 2015.
Government has been channeling almost 82 percent of the budget towards salaries with monthly employment costs amounting to $260 million. Civil servants’ bonuses will be scrapped in 2015 and 2016 and the situation will be reviewed in 2017.
For years, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been urging Harare to slash its wage bill. To discuss the bonus fallout, Studio 7’s Blessing Zulu spoke with president of the Progress Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, Dr. Takavafira Zhou and president of the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe, John Mufukari.