Home » Governance » Govt Slammed Over Impending Job Cuts

Workers unions and civic society organisations have blasted the Zanu PF government for failing to live up to its promise to create two million jobs in five years.

They said it was surprising that the same government was now thinking of reducing its workforce instead of creating the promised jobs.

The civil service workforce stood at 554 000 in 2014 up from 315 000 in 2009 and Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa recently said 80% of the budget was going towards civil servants salaries.

Chinamasa said Cabinet had since ordered his ministry and the Civil Service Commission to cut the workforce.

However, he did not say where the cash-strapped government would find money to retrench the workers.

Some critics have attributed the bloated civil service to the employment of ghost workers.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general Japhet Moyo said without a paradigm shift in government’s policies, the country would continue to carry ghost workers.

“In English there is an adage that says ‘we are in a catch 22 situation’, and in this country we now have two bad choices to make because we have to either choose to create the two million jobs and raise resources to do that, or we have to find ways to reduce the bloated structure of our civil service which has more than 500 000 people, most of whom are ghost workers,” Moyo said.

“We also ask government what happened with the report on ghost workers — because it is well known that there are people who are not adding any value to government yet they are currently earning money.”

Moyo said as labour, they did not favour the option of closing companies because government had failed to raise resources or court investors.

“Government needs to put in place mechanisms where investors are able to bring money into the country. The atmosphere must be conducive for investment,” he said.

Moyo said with more job cuts, looming it was impossible to then fight poverty and fulfil one of the eight millennium development goals, which is to eradicate poverty.

“The economic outlook is therefore very bleak as things stand. If there is no paradigm shift in our policies, we are going to see more people losing their jobs and going into the informal sector which is overcrowded now. We might create an army of people who will be roaming the streets doing nothing, and students produced from universities will have no work,” he said.

Moyo said Zimbabwe might be heading towards a situation similar to the one that prevailed in South African during the apartheid era where people were toyi-toying in the streets because they had no work.

Political analyst Dumisani Nyongolo Nkomo said the fact that government was now planning to cut the wage bill meant that they had now come

face-to-face with the reality of what former Finance minister Tendai Biti used to say about “eating what we gather”.

“They used to demonise Biti, but what all this shows is that Zanu PF election promises of creating two million jobs were empty, meaningless and nonsensical,” Nkomo said.

“It shows that the party has failed to run the economy and that they have actually run it down through poor policy formulation, poor implementation of policies, policy inertia and sometimes policy inconsistency.”

He said the country desperately needed foreign direct investment.

“It is high time people started to realise that election promises are a pie in the sky. Unemployment is now very high compared to 1996 when most people were employed. The economy has been so informalised to the extent that even trade unions are now very weak,” Nkomo said.

The main opposition MDC-T also took a dig on government’s move to employ what they called the Zanu PF ward officers from the Border Gezi youth training camps.

Party spokesperson Obert Gutu said: “The MDC-T has been vindicated as we were on record demanding an audit of the civil service for the duration of the inclusive government. Now chickens have come home to roost. The clueless government is now insolvent. The economy is grinding to a halt as companies are closing down. The revenue base has shrunk by 45% since July 2013,” Gutu said.

He said the whole economy was in shambles yet Mugabe and his cabal were burying their heads in the sand as if everything was normal.

“We say no to civil service retrenchments without negotiated packages. Civil servants will not be sacrificial lambs,” Gutu said.

Government is currently struggling to pay civil servants who are now getting used to being paid late.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard