by TZN Correspondent
THOUSANDS of public service officials including the military, police, education and parastatals personnel are set to lose their jobs amid reports government has directed all heads of departments to compile a list of the employees who are 50 years old and above as plans to slash the bloated civil service wage bill to below 40% gathers momentum.
Sources this week told said government has already notified the ministry of education to provide names of the teachers and administrators who are from 50 years of age and above. “As I am speaking to you right now I am already in Gweru, our provincial regional office to submit the list of teachers who are 50 years old and above,” said a headmaster from the Midlands province.
“Last week Public service commission held some workshops in some district in Midlands where they were informing those near the retirement age on the benefits of early retirement,” the source said.
Army sources also said the exercise is also being carried out in the uniformed forces although government is facing a serious challenge in implementing the decision.
The cash-strapped government faces tough decisions in its bid to reduce the unsustainable civil service wage bill as it ponders cutting the size of the security sector and laying off senior civil servants who have reached retirement age but have been retained to prop President Robert Mugabe’s faltering regime. The development comes at a time government has informed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that promotions in the civil service have been shelved as a way of containing costs. The government has also suspended salary increments to curb costs. During his presentation of the Mid-Term Fiscal Review statement, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, said his ministry and that of the Public service have made headway in pushing to cut the wage bill to below 40%.
Government officials said a number of senior civil servants and high ranking officials in the security sector had over the years taken retirement packages but remained in the civil service, thus contributing to the huge wage bill. A large number of senior officials have also reached retirement age but were clinging on to their positions so as to enjoy the hefty perks that come with their offices, further straining government resources in the process while also frustrating junior officials hoping for promotions.
Government has also a monumental task to deal with more than 75 000 ghost workers, mostly unqualified Zanu PF militias and supporters, who were unearthed in the civil service through a comprehensive payroll and skills audit done by Ernst & Young (India) on behalf of the Public Service ministry in 2011.