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Govt, Civil Servants Clash Over Inflation Driven Salaries

Zimbabwe unity government principals in show of unity.
Zimbabwe unity government principals in show of unity.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has blasted the government for awarding civil servants an inflation-based salary increment saying the increase amounts to nothing.

In a statement, the PTUZ said: “This will not improve the plight of the underpaid government workers who are still a long way below the consumer-indexed basket of six.”

Most civil servants earn an average of $200 a month. PTUZ general secretary Raymond Majongwe said the inflation-based pay rise proposed by government is unacceptable.

Finance ministry officials were unavailable for comment, but for months the government has said it simply does not have the funds available to increase salaries per the poverty datum line and that increments pegged to inflation is the best it can do.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti announced a few days ago that all state workers will get an increase from January next year, but the pay hike will be determined by the official rate of inflation.

The announcement has riled civil servants who said the government should peg their salaries against the poverty datum line currently around $600, and not inflation.

The country's inflation rate is currently pegged at 3,24 percent.

Meanwhile, Biti has again reduced the country’s 2012 growth forecast to 4% from the previous projection of 5. 6 percent. The minister initially projected that the country will grow by 9.4 percent this year.

The minister attributed this to the decline in agricultural production, which dipped to 5.8 percent against an earlier projection for 11.6 percent growth. Poor rainfall and lack of finance for farmers has contributed to the slump in agricultural production.

Previously, Biti blamed lack of donor funding and policy inconsistencies in the government for the struggling economy.

Economic commentator and management consultant, Luxon Zembe, told VOA that economic growth has been affected by policy discord in the government of national unity.
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