Patrick Chitumba/Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporters
GOVERNMENT has released $300 million for civil servants cushioning allowances and the payments are expected to be accessed from banks starting today.
In an interview yesterday Finance and Economic Development Ministry permanent secretary Mr George Guvamatanga said the money had by yesterday been released to banks.
Mr Guvamatanga said the New Dispensation should be given credit for meeting its financial obligations.
“I am happy to announce that the money for the cushioning allowances for civil servants was released to individual banks and it’s now just a matter of banks processing the payments to individual accounts.
“We are also processing salaries for those civil servants whose salaries are due like the security sector,” he said.
Mr Guvamatanga said the total for the cushioning allowances was about $300 million.
He said the release of the allowance money on time was a confirmation that Government was in full control of its cash inflows and funding to meet its obligations.
He said 13 or 14 months ago, civil servants didn’t have a fixed pay date but the New Dispensation had announced pay dates for the whole year showing that it is organised.
“We paid bonuses at the same time and Government should be given credit for that,” he said.
Mr Guvamatanga said Government is alive to the challenges and hardships being faced by civil servants and is committed to finding lasting solutions. “We are on a journey as we work on our economy and we will not rest until we reach a time when the civil servants are paid a living wage and are happy,” he said.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Dr Sifiso Ndlovu said they were hopeful that once the money reflects in bank accounts, some teachers who had failed to report for duty will travel to their respective work stations.
“None of the teachers have confirmed receiving the money but we are hopeful that it will reflect in their accounts tomorrow (today). This will allow some of our members who have not reported for duty to travel to their work stations. The impact of incapacitation may be different for teachers in town and those in rural areas. Some rural teachers need as much as $200 for bus fare to return to their work stations,” said Dr Ndlovu.
Apex Council secretary general David Dzatsunga said they were optimistic that the money will start reflecting in their bank accounts today. “I am a civil servant myself and have not received the money. Maybe it will start reflecting overnight but we have been told that we could start accessing it tomorrow,” said Mr Dzatsunga.
On Monday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said Government was seized with addressing the issue of salaries for civil servants.
Government last week offered civil servants a 100 percent pay increase that will result in the least paid worker taking home $2 033, up from $1 023 per month and has promised to pay $750 this week as a cushioning allowance for January.
Civil servants however rejected the offer demanding to be paid an equivalent of US$475 for the lowest-paid worker.
Addressing journalists, Minister Ncube said Government had other pressing issues that also required equal attention. He said the issues included ensuring national food security, power generation, job creation and stabilising the local currency.