THE Government will this month meet its salary obligations to civil servants on time, the first time the administration has achieved the feat in years.
Over the past three years, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has staggered civil service wages, pleading poor revenues flows to the State treasury.
He was sacked from the job by former president Robert Mugabe in October but bounced back after the latter was toppled by a military coup the following month and replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa.
And he has returned with some Christmas cheer for government workers.
Unions representing the previously demoralised government employees immediately cheered the announcement after years of rows with the government over pay delays.
President Mnangagwa‘s new government revealed Wednesday that it would pay all civil servants before the end of the month.
The development was confirmed by secretary to treasury Willard Manungo in a memo copied to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangundya and chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda among others.
Manungo said pay dates for January would be announced in due course taking into account revenue flows.
According to the notice the defence forces and health sector will be paid on December 15, police and prison services on December 19 while teachers, the rest of civil servants and pensioners will receive their dues on December 21.
Commenting on the announcement, the head of the umbrella union for State workers Cecelia Alexander said; “This is also the first time in many months that everyone is getting paid within the month worked. This is a positive development we appreciate.
“We hope that as we go into next year, the trend is going to be maintained. We know the economic challenges being faced, but it shows Government has taken into consideration that we are important stakeholders who deserve the best.”
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general Raymond Majongwe added; “It is a good move because this was going to be the fourth year getting our salaries after Christmas.
“It means the new Government is sensitive to the plight of the workers, it is a thumps-up for them. It gives us the opportunity as civil servants to make our families realise the festive mood and enjoy like everybody else.
“This is a good start for the Government and we are thankful that somebody listened, otherwise we could have been told we would get salaries after Christmas, which would not have made sense.”
Former President Robert Mugabe’s administration had in the last few years been struggling to pay salaries on time due to dwindling revenue flows as the economy shrunk with productivity hitting all-time lows.
Mugabe was forced to pay workers way into following months while end of year bonuses have had to be staggered into succeeding years.