Zimbabwe laid off more than 3 500 government workers yesterday as the government implements its economic reform programme aimed at cutting government expenditure and trimming the civil service.
The move is expected to save $1.8 million a month.
The civil service, which is currently the biggest employer in the country, was removed from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to the Office of the President leaving a new ministry called Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
Zimbabwe has been accused of employing thousands of ghost workers with some estimates as high as 75 000.
The bulk of the workers laid off, over 3 000, are youth officers while a further 500 are unqualified civil servants.
“Treasury stands guided by the minister’s National Budget Statement. He spoke of shedding more than 3 000 staff from the National Youth Service. That process has begun; they will be off the payroll come December 31. Each was getting US$446 in basic income and monthly benefits,” Secretary for Finance Willard Manungo told the Sunday Mail.
“Then there are also 500 staff members who were identified by an audit as lacking minimum requisite qualifications. All of them will fall off on December 31.”
The paper said the government has also started trimming fuel and airtime allocations for senior government officials as stated in Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s 2018 budget.
“Fuel allocation is in two parts. The bulk of fuel is given to ministries for operations while other allocations go to those with government vehicles. Some use government vehicles as a condition of service and others based on operational service,” Manungo said.
“Fuel allocations are being tightened for individuals who use vehicles for operational service. Their acquittals in terms of the amount of fuel used will be read against business undertaken.
“We want to move from spending over 80 percent of revenue on employment costs. In 2018, we want to reach 70 percent of budget, going down further to 65 percent in 2019 and, again, down in 2020.”
The Public Service Commission is also calculating packages for all its 65-year-old employees and will retire them next month.
“Minister Chinamasa, in the budget statement, said government should observe the retirement age. The Public Service Commission has already started working on retirement of civil servants over 65 years old and their packages,” Manungo said.
“That will take effect as we start January 2018, unless there are exceptional cases. That is what the minister spoke about, in the process creating space for new staff.”