Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Civil service reforms save Govt $300 million

By Felex Share

The civil service rationalisation exercise has started paying dividends as recommendations effected so far are set to cut the Government wage bill by $300 million this year.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira

Once all the recommendations are effected — some which await Cabinet approval — the wage bill would be reduced by a further $144 million by the end of the year.

Government’s wage bill stands at $190 million monthly, translating to $2,28 billion annually.

Public Service, Labour and Social Services Minister Prisca Mupfumira yesterday said Government planned to cut its annual bill by $435 982 964.

“There were a lot of recommendations that came from the Civil Service audit and implementation of most of them has started,” she said.

“We are at the moment going to save $291 827 288 by December from the measures that have taken effect. A further $144 155 676 will be saved if those recommendations in process are stimulated. There is no going back on the rationalisation and now we are starting to see the fruits of the exercise as a lot is being saved monthly. All members should embrace the changes and understand that we are entering a new dispensation.”

The abolition of all non-critical vacant posts in line Ministries will save $128 699 952 this year while resuscitation of the 7,5 percent pension contributions by civil servants should bring in $142 million.

Measures that have taken effect include the granting of unpaid manpower development leave to 1 473 civil servants (saving $9 969 264 annually), rationalisation of 920 underutilised technical vocational teachers ($6 323 136), redeployment of 340 deputy heads being underutilised ($2 337 504), cessation of payment of allowances to civil servants teaching non-formal education ($1 335 888) and stoppage on funding bridging programmes in 26 tertiary colleges ($161 544).

At least 83 percent of Government revenue was servicing salaries, a development that stifles economic growth.

Minister Mupfumira said outstanding issues included the proposed change in vacation leave policy for teachers which is expected to save $47 million.

“The effect date on this measure was supposed to be January 1, but currently the Civil Service Commission is faced with litigation from teachers’ unions.

“Also in progress and to be completed by June is the merging of departments with duplicating, over-split and overlapping functions. Also being rationalised are lean and flatter structures while redundant posts will also be abolished.

“Supernumerary posts will be used as and when necessary. The withdrawal of funding for the 2 888 teachers in Trust and private schools is almost complete and a substantial amount will be realised from that. To us and considering the situation we are in, every dollar counts and we are leaving no stone unturned.”

She said the reduction of student teacher allowances was waiting Cabinet approval.

The civil service audit recommended that the allowances be slashed from $329 to $157.

The audit was carried out by the Civil Service Commission at the instruction of Cabinet to guide Government in the implementation of key reforms in the public service sector.

According to the audit, the chief labour cost drivers, which pushed the wage bill to unprecedented levels, were flagrant abuse of overtime allowances and leave days, salary fraud, idle manpower, role duplication and uncoordinated staff recruitment. The Herald