|Salary freeze for civil servants|
|Saturday, 16 June 2012 22:48|
The move is likely to be met with stiff resistance from the already disgruntled Government workers.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Mr Biti would not commit himself. He, however, said the economy was “in a bad shape”.
Government is believed to owe local authorities and utilities a cumulative US$45 million and foreign missions US$24 million.
“We have held many long sessions discussing the issue of civil servants’ salaries with the minister over the past few months, but he is not taking our policy advice.
“In one of the meetings, he told us that the revenue flows into Government coffers for Treasury to increase the salaries were too low, but now he has shifted, saying the salaries will remain frozen until the economy improves.
“It’s unfortunate that all we can do is to advise the minister. He can either take our advice or ignore it.
At the end of last month, civil servants’ unions wrote to President Mugabe asking him to intervene and help improve their salaries and working conditions by July. The unions writing under the Apex Council representing Zimbabwe Teachers Association, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe and the Public Service Association said Government had failed to convene a meeting under the National Joint Negotiating Council.
“They also said their appeal to Prime Minister Tsvangirai had yielded nothing.
“We are wondering why he is trying to raise tax and raise duty when the economy is shrinking.
Some economists have said Minister Biti is “clearly out of depth” on how to turnaround the economy and is fast running out of steam that was started by the introduction of the multicurrency.
“He is charging against the economy like a bull in a China shop,” said an economist who spoke on condition of anonymity. University of Zimbabwe economics Professor Tony Hawkins last week wrote an article in The Sunday Times saying the MDC should not take credit for the fall in inflation in the country as this was brought about by dollarisation. He said in terms of turning around the economy; “The MDC is pretty much out of its depth.”