Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE year has started on a positive note for civil servants as they have started receiving US$75 Covid-19 monthly risk allowance from Government.
Pensioners are receiving US$30 allowances.
The payments started last week.
This follows a decision late last year by Government to pay civil servants bonuses in US dollars.
Government has said the welfare of civil servants will improve this year and already, salary negotiations under the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) have started with the Apex Council – an umbrella body that represents civil servants – applauding their employer for committing to negotiations for improved working conditions.
The first NJNC meeting was held on January 14.
The Second Republic has been regularly reviewing civil servants’ salaries and benefits for the past four years but rising inflation has been eroding the gains.
In an interview yesterday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima confirmed that civil servants had started receiving their US$75 monthly risk allowance in US dollars.
“Yes. I can confirm that all those that have been paid, and that is the majority, have received their US$75 allowance, paid into nostro accounts and accessible as hard cash,” he said.
Prof Mavima said Government is always prepared to listen to civil servants’ concerns and expectations.
“The Second Republic remains committed to improving the working conditions of its workers and it has been reviewing their conditions of service time and again. Unfortunately, every time there is an increment for civil servants, the price of goods and services go up. But the Government is working on addressing that,” he said.
Apex Council deputy secretary-general Mr Gibson Mushangu said their members have started receiving the US$75 Covid-19 allowances in hard cash.
“Yes, our members have started receiving the allowances for January. We appreciate the Government for honouring its pledge and we are hopeful and looking forward to a great year where the employer will pay us salaries in foreign currency.
That matter is still before NJNC,” he said.
In the 2022 National Budget, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube projected to spend $340 billion on wages and salaries of civil servants and pensions.
In addition, Government will offer a host of non-monetary benefits which include residential stands, housing and vehicle loan schemes as well as seed money to the Government Employees Mutual Savings Fund.
Presenting the 2022 National Budget in November last year, Prof Ncube said: “Government doors remain open to structured negotiations with workers unions’ for any measures which may improve their welfare and productivity.”
In the budget, $1,8 billion was allocated to the civil servants housing loan scheme while the duty-free import facility for civil servants already in place will continue into the future as part of the Government’s commitment to improve their welfare through non-monetary incentives.