The Zimbabwe government did not pay July salaries to 3,000 of its estimated 500,000 strong workforce as it moves to cut down on salary costs and improve efficiency in government.

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Government is spending 80 percent of state revenue on employment costs, leaving very little for infrastructure development.

The affected 3,000 workers were not present at their work stations when government conducted a head count in March as part of government’s efforts to rationalize its workforce and flush out any suspected ghost workers.
The salary move also comes at a time when government last month completed a civil service audit now under consideration by cabinet.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira was quoted by the Herald newspaper Tuesday as saying that the 3,000 workers must prove that they are bona fide employees to have their salaries reinstated.
“Those affected will have their salaries reinstated after proving that they exist in the system,” she said.
According to the minister, the audit revealed that some civil servants were drawing salaries without going to work, were double dipping while others went on leave without signing the requisite forms.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said last week that government intends to halve the wage bill to 40 percent of total revenue from the current 80 percent.

He did not elaborate how government would reduce the wage bill, leading to speculation that government intended to retrench.

However, Mupfumira dismissed the speculation and stated at the weekend that government would not “wantonly retrench civil servants but will reduce its wage bill through others means”.

She was further quoted in Tuesday’s Herald as saying: “We are not retrenching or firing anyone from the civil service. It is just cessation of salaries because we have to pay someone for work done”.

Both the International Monetary Fund and the Wold Bank have described the country’s high wage bill as unsustainable and have recommended to the government to cut down the costs to free up more resources for social spending and capital development. Enditem

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