Government is lining up another salary adjustment for civil servants to cushion them from the unwarranted price increases that businesses continue to effect.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said this in an interview with journalists at the National Sports Stadium on Friday on the sidelines of the SADC day of solidarity against sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West.
“We are going to have another adjustment as I speak, then we are going to pay the bonus in November. So we are doing our best in gradually supporting civil servants,” he said.
It could not be immediately established when the latest increment would come into effect.
The lowest paid civil servant presently earns $1 023, which their representatives say has since been overtaken by inflation resulting in some allegedly having challenges reporting for duty.
Once the salary adjustment comes into force, it will be the third this year alone after reviews in April and July.
Asked if Government was considering pegging civil servants’ salaries to the interbank rate for foreign currency as has been suggested by employee representatives, Prof Ncube said there was no money to sustain that.
“We cannot afford it. Where is the exchange rate now, US$1:$15? So can you imagine if we were to multiply that (the current salary) by a factor of US$1:$15.
“We cannot afford that as Government, we will go bust. So we will do it in a gradual way, I think we have done our best. We had an adjustment in April, another adjustment in July, another is coming, then we have the bonus in November,” he said.
This year’s bonus will be pegged on gross income, a departure from last year when the 13th cheque was based on pensionable salaries only.
The development will increase civil servants’ disposable incomes ahead of the festive season.
Prof Ncube said while Government has been adjusting civil servants’ salaries, “within our means” in the face of a severe drought, it was critical that private sector employers also played ball and adjust their employees’ earnings.
He said while it was critical for private sector players to cushion their workers, but said Government wants that to be done in a manner which does not expose companies to bankruptcy.
Prof Ncube also praised civil servants and the rest of the population for “being understanding because reforms are not easy”.
“We are doing this (salary adjustments and budget surpluses) under severe drought, we have not suffered this kind of drought, power outages, two cyclones and we are still standing. We have achieved a lot,” he said.
Between January and June this year, Treasury recorded a budget surplus of $803,6 million driven by fiscal discipline in line ministries.