Zimbabwe has no money to pay July civil servants salaries as economic woes bite

TOP officials from the Ministries of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Finance as well as from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will meet this week to come up with a position concerning the issue of civil servants salaries for this month as Government strives to avoid a repeat of last month when salaries were delayed. Minister of Public Service,Labour and Social Welfare  Prisca Mupfumira said efforts were being made to avoid a repeat of last month’s delays.

“We are trying our best to mobilise adequate resources to try and pay most of them (civil servants) by the end of the month. Our target is to improve from June and we are working hard to achieve that,” she said.

Mupfumira said no dates have been proposed yet for payment of civil servants’ July salaries. She said she would be consulting with her Finance counterpart  Patrick Chinamasa and the Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya this week before coming up with a clear position on dates.

“We are still consulting with the Ministry of Finance and RBZ and by next week we will have a clear position. Certainly we are going to improve from June,” she said.

Apex Council president Mrs Cecilia Alexander said civil servants were expecting to be paid their dues within the month service is rendered and would be happy if their employer manages to do so.

“If they pay us within the month we would have given service then at the end of the day there won’t be any issues. That will be very welcome and we will appreciate it,” she said.

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Last month the Government staggered payment of civil servants’ salaries, a move that saw some workers receiving their salaries as late as 13 July. The Government cited cash flow challenges as the reason for the delay in paying workers’ salaries.

Civil servants representatives, miffed by the delays, called on their workers not to go to work on 5 July, after a series of negotiation with the Government on pay dates yielded little. The workers, however, called off the stay away after the Government managed to bring forward the pay date for nurses from 14 to 8 July.

Meanwhile, although Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister, Dr Godfrey Gandawa was on Thursday quoted confirming that the university staffers were set to get their bonuses on Friday, their union yesterday said they did not get anything.

In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe State Universities Union of Academics national president Mr Alois Muzvuwe said they were yet to receive the bonuses.

“As it is I am on my way from Harare where I was trying to find out the actual position pertaining to our 2015 bonuses and it was not good news.

“No one seemed to have the answers, the Finance Ministry is saying they don’t have money contrary to media reports that we were meant to get our bonus on Friday.”

Meanwhile, in an e-mail sent to National University of Science and Technology Educators Association (Nusteda) members on Friday, Nusteda secretary-general Mr Blessing Jona wrote that they have since informed their parent ministry that they might be forced to close until the situation is rectified.

“Contrary to what was announced in newspapers that the 2015 bonuses will be paid to State university workers on Friday 15 July, nothing has been transferred to State universities. Muzvuwe also informed me that even though the June 2016 salary was announced to be coming on 21 July 2016, the Ministry of Finance has said there is no money,” reads part of the e-mail.

In an interview, Mr Jona confirmed having generated the e-mail.

Contacted for a comment yesterday, Dr Gandawa said he was not aware whether the bonuses had been deposited on Friday or not, saying he would have to find out when he gets back to office tomorrow.

“I am out of town right now, I will only find out on Monday, all I know is that they were supposed to have got their bonuses on Friday, which is what had been agreed on with the Finance Ministry,” said Dr Gandawa.