Home » General » Nzuwa Allays Salary Cut Fears

Government will not reduce salaries for civil servants as doing so is a violation of the country’s Constitution, Civil Service Commission chairperson Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwa has said.

He said the Commission had embarked on a massive head-count of all Government employees to weed out duplication of duties in ministries, something he said had contributed to a bloated salary bill gobbling 83 percent of revenue.

Dr Nzuwa said Government was paying agricultural extension workers stationed in metropolitan cities like Harare and other urban areas where there was no known agricultural activities requiring their presence.

He said this while giving oral evidence before a parliamentary portfolio committee on public service chaired by Gutu East MP Cde Berita Chikwama (Zanu-PF).

Cde Chikwama wanted to know if the Commission will take on board a proposal by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner General Gershem Pasi that there was need to consider salary cut to contain the wage bill.

“There is no plan to reduce the 2015 salaries for civil servants for the simple reason that the Constitution does not allow the reduction of salaries for civil servants once it has been awarded,” said Dr Nzuwa.

“The Commission has no power to reduce salaries except for an individual over misconduct or an individual who would have volunteered.”

Finance Minister Chinamasa is on record saying Government will first seek broad consensus on strategies to reduce the public wage bill in the wake of strained fiscal space.

Mr Pasi was recently quoted as urging Government to consider reducing salaries by 20 percent across the board to stimulate economic growth.

On duplication of duties for Government ministries, Dr Nzuwa cited examples where the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development had a representative at ward level together with other Government ministries.

The Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment had a maximum of five youth officers in a ward, while the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development would employ an extension officer, crop, livestock and veterinary officer – all in a given ward.

This came after legislators complained that they had observed duplication of roles in their constituencies and asked why they could not be merged.

“Yes, we do have that duplication of duties that is why we are carrying a head-count,” said Dr Nzuwa.

“We can solve that problem provided that there is enough political will on our policy makers.”

Dr Nzuwa said it was important that ministries could merge some of the roles to be done by one person in a given ward.

He said it was important to note that during the subsistence of the inclusive government a lot of ministries were created, again exerting pressure on the wage bill.

At one stage Dr Nzuwa courted the ire of legislators when he declined to divulge his salary and that of other CSC commissioners.

Dr Nzuwa said he would require the concurrence of the Office of the President and Cabinet to reveal his conditions of service.

Source : The Herald