By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has considered pampering the military by setting up Garrison Shops to enable all members of the defence forces who will be on the Government Employees Mutual Savings Fund (GEMS Fund) to access subsidized basic commodities.
Speaking at the Post cabinet briefing in Harare on Wednesday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the GEMS Fund will enable members of military to access subsidised basic commodities that would be sold in the specialized shops located within cantonment areas.
“Following presentation by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development of the proposed Civil Service Mutual Savings Fund, Cabinet resolved as follows:
“that the Government Employees Mutual Savings Fund (GEMS Fund) be established with effect from March, 2020;
“that Government will immediately provide a lump sum injection of ZW$100 million from the budget to facilitate the expedited establishment of the Fund;
“that a 2½% of the total remuneration be deducted from every Government employee in consultation with the Public Service Commission;
“that a Steering Committee comprising the Public Service Commission, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development; and the Office of the President and Cabinet be established to decide on the implementation modalities of the Fund;
“and those Garrison Shops be established to enable all members of the defence forces who will be on the GEMS Fund to have the additional benefit of accessing subsidized basic commodities that would be sold in the specialized shops located within cantonment areas,” Mutsvangwa said.
Political commentator Sanderson Makombe expressed outrage saying;
“So Government has decided to deduct 2,5% from every GOVT worker’s wages to subsidise ‘ baccossi’ or Garrison shops for soldiers at their barracks? What will it take for citizens to get angry?
On Thursday the Ministry of Information issued a statement clarifying the issue saying;
“All Civil Servants will have access to subsidised basic goods through Silo Shops while members of the Defence Forces will purchase the commodities from Garrison Shops.”
Meanwhile, speaking at the same podium, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said garrisons are existing in the country.
“There is an issue around Garrison Shops. In terms of physical structure, already they exist in the cantonment areas.
“We want to give subsidies for those who are in the full uniform force.
“All we are trying to do is to improve the conditions of service our civil servants,” Ncube said.
Mutsvangwa said government was setting up a Zimbabwe Investment Guide that would facilitate the new National Investment Policy in the wake of the promulgation of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) Act.
Nine months ago, government promised to set aside $70 million for provision of people’s shops in a move aimed at curtailing wanton increases in prices of basic commodities. Nehanda Radio