Felex Share, Harare Bureau
It was a case of smiling all the way to the bank for civil servants yesterday as Government honoured its pledge to increase the workers’ salaries by 29 percent beginning this month.
The civil servants however appealed to Government to act on businesses that are wantonly increasing prices of commodities, eroding their income in the process.
Nurses, prison officers, members of the Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police and Airforce of Zimbabwe started accessing their salaries yesterday with an increment of up to $129 depending on grades.
Those in the education sector will get their dues tomorrow while the rest of the civil service and pensioners are going to be paid on April 24 and 26 respectively.
The cost of living adjustment came after Government offered a package of $400 million to be shared amongst the workers between April and December. The latest arrangement means the lowest paid Government worker is getting $600, which is above the poverty datum line.
Another salary review is expected mid-year.
Apex Council secretary Mr David Dzatsunga yesterday confirmed they had started accessing their increased salaries.
He, however, appealed to Government to put a stop to unjustified price increases which are being propelled by some businesses.
“We appreciate Government’s sincerity in honouring the letter and spirit of our agreement,” Mr Dzatsunga said.
“As we try to make ends meet, it is regrettable that this comes against the backdrop of the resurgence of rampant price increases which are eroding the increase before we do anything. The situation calls for Government to meaningfully intervene to control the situation or else we are going back to the negotiating table for yet another inflationary salary adjustment.”
Of the $400 million offered to the workers by Government, the Public Service Commission (PSC), including the uniformed forces, have been allocated $281 million, the Health Services Board will get $56,8 million, while the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) gets $2,5 million.
Independent commissions and grant aided institutions get $2,6 million and $56,8 million, respectively.
Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (ZINA) secretary-general Mr Enock Dongo weighed in: “Yes there has been an increment and Government has honoured its pledge but the price issues are worrying and if nothing is done we are going to die because we are struggling.
“The increment has to match with the prices and that is not the case now and our members are having difficulties in making things balance.”
President Mnangagwa last week slammed the rent seeking behaviour by some business that continue to increase prices of basic goods without justification saying they were exploiting the people and hampering the attainment of Vision 2030.
He said a meeting between Government and various stakeholders was on the cards to find common ground.
“Government notes the present wanton, upsurge and ever escalating unjustified increase in prices,” President Mnangagwa said while addressing the Zanu-PF National Youth Assembly in Harare.
“We urge compatriots in industry, business and commerce to desist from this inhumane trend which brought untold suffering and misery to our people. Government is in the process of meeting with stakeholders in the sector for discussions around the issues. We cannot have the continued exploitation of our people by those who exhibit rent seeking behaviour.”
Some businesses are wantonly increasing prices of commodities citing movements in the exchange rate instead of predicating adjustments on inflation trends.