CIVIL servants are hoping that Government will accede to their request for salaries to be paid in foreign currency as the country starts a New Year saying this will improve their standards of living.
Government employees said payment of bonuses in foreign currency has given them hope for a better 2022.
Government last month paid workers bonuses in foreign currency as a way of cushioning them from an inflationary environment.
In an interview yesterday, civil servants’ body, Apex council secretary-general Mr David Dzatsunga said employees have a legitimate claim in demanding salaries in foreign currency.
“Our expectations into the New Year are that we get more or the same as we got with the bonus. We hope that the Government will move towards making sure that civil servants get US dollar salaries as has been a long-standing demand. We believe that we also have a legitimate expectation on that,” said Mr Dzatsunga.
He said State workers play a critical role in the implementation of Government policies hence it will be prudent that their demands are taken aboard.
Mr Dzatsunga also said employees need to understand that the country is still under Covid-19 pandemic and they have to observe prevention protocols.
“We still have to observe the safety protocols at the workplace and in everything that we do. We still are in the pandemic and we still have to play our role even as the frontline workers and continue to serve selflessly as we have done through the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mr Dzatsunga.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Dr Sifiso Ndlovu said they will continue engaging Government on their welfare as the New Year begins.
He said they are concerned with the rising cost of education.
“We are already seeing that goods and services have gone up. So, we will engage the Government on matters of teachers’ welfare as we have done in the past. We also are hoping that the Government would come up with strategies to ensure education becomes accessible to all. What we are seeing at the moment is that education is increasingly becoming expensive, fees are increasing while stationery is also getting expensive,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bulawayo residents have said they are hoping for a better year after they lost their relatives due to the pandemic in 2021.
They said beside the Covid-19 pandemic employment opportunities were elusive for most of them.
Johns Matanhire, a taxi driver said the economic environment was difficult for him as he had to shift to vending.
“For some of us it was tough because of the economic situation which was characterised by an inflationary environment.
We hope the Government can impose measures that will restore confidence in the currency. Prices were rising but incomes remained very stagnant. The only good thing is that bars were allowed to reopen as compared to last year where bars were not allowed to open,” said Mr Matanhire.
Mr Melusi Khumalo said the year 2021 was a forgettable event as he lost a family member and a close friend to the pandemic.
“I’m hoping 2022 will be better. Covid-19 has really affected our lives. Some of us lost people who were very close to us. 2021 has been a year to forget but we hope things will be better even economically in 2022,” said Mr Khumalo.
Ms Christabel Gumbo said she was hoping for a job in the coming year.
“I completed my studies as a marketer but I have not been able to get a job. I have resorted to selling clothes at a flea market but my hope is to get a job that I trained for,” said Ms Gumbo.
Anxious Moyo, a pupil at Speciss College said the lockdown affected his studies and he is hoping that the schools calendar is not affected.
“I’m proceeding to Upper Six but I don’t think I’m even ready for that transition. I just learnt for a single term the whole Form Five and with the continuous learning component I think we need an uninterrupted education calendar in the coming year for us to fully cover the gap. My hope is that there will be less disruptions to education,” said Anxious.