CIVIL servants are set for a happy end of year as the Government has assured them that they will receive their bonus while modalities are also being worked out to continue with foreign currency allowances until the end of the year.
In June, the Government announced a flat non-taxable Covid-19 allowance of US$75 for civil servants and increased their salaries by 50 percent while pensioners who retired from the civil service also got a flat non-taxable Covid-19 allowance of US$30 per month.
The allowances were initially for three months, but during a National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting which brings Government and civil servants’ representatives under one roof held last week, the Government announced that the facility has been extended to the end of the year. And to put the cherry on the cake, the Government will also pay its workers a 13th cheque.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube told Sunday News on the sidelines of a donation of food hampers to the elderly in Bulawayo’s Luveve suburb yesterday that the Government was in the process of increasing salaries, paying bonus and will continue with the non-taxable Covid-19 US$ allowance for its workers. Health workers are also set to get an additional risk allowance.
“We are continuing talks with civil servants noting that they are hardworking and critical to our economy, especially those in the health sector, who make up our frontline workers in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, which has largely affected our nation. What we are doing now is that we are engaging the civil servants to see how we can continue with the non-taxable foreign currency allowance for the entire civil service and the risk allowances for our health workers,” said Prof Ncube.
Regarding the civil servants’ bonuses, the minister assured the workers that despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic the workers will receive their 13th cheque this year.
“On bonuses, the civil servants should not worry much, for now we will address their salaries and allowances. Bonus as we all know it is a norm that we pay it every year, hence this year, it won’t be different, we are working on paying them their 13th cheque,” he said.
Commenting on the promises, Apex Council president, Mrs Cecilia Alexandra confirmed that they had begun talks with their employer on both the salary increase and payment of the 13th cheque. She said during last week’s meeting Government promised to come up with a new pay structure for the civil servants.
“The negotiations are yet to be concluded because the Government initially came to us with a figure which we felt was far less than what we expected. Regarding bonuses I am sure this will also be tabled in our next meeting but since we are fast approaching November, I must emphasise that as civil servants we expect our bonuses to be paid,” said Mrs Alexandra.
When the Government announced the forex allowances, it was part of President Mnangagwa’s measures to cushion Government workers from the adverse impact of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Prof Ncube took a swipe at unscrupulous individuals who buy subsidised mealie-meal, repackage it and then sell it at astronomical prices.
He said the Government will soon be descending on these people with the aim of bringing them to book as they were taking advantage of the desperation by people to line their pockets.
The subsidised mealie-meal has since vanished from the shops in and around Bulawayo.
“As Government we have been trying very hard in terms of providing our citizens with affordable mealie-meal, our official price is $70, which has not been increased, we are, however, aware that there are some unscrupulous individuals who are selling the same product for even five times more, while others are even charging in foreign currency.
“However, I must warn these individuals that as Government we are determined to toe the line and ensure that such acts are brought to book. We know these tricksters who want to take advantage of this generous gesture by the Government for their personal gains,” said Prof Ncube.
He further called on the elderly to register with the Social Welfare Department, revealing that the Government had set aside $2,4 billion for their benefit, which also included $300 monthly cash transfers.
“Our social welfare programme is quite robust and we would like more citizens to come forward and register. We also have our Basic Education Assistance Module which is assisting the education sector and also a programme for the elderly where they will receive support as well house work,” said Prof Ncube.
He donated various food items at Entembeni Old People’s Home as well as food parcels to 75 households in Luveve.