Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT has agreed to extend the duty-free rebate on motor vehicle scheme for civil servants beyond June 2021, as part of efforts to cushion public service workers through non-monetary incentives.
Through Statutory Instrument 52 of 2019, the Treasury had given civil servants with 10 years of service the nod to import cars duty-free.
Under this provision, a vehicle to be imported should not exceed US$10 000 while a person is entitled to import one car within a period of five years.
According to the 2020-2021 national budget statements, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli had indicated that this benefit window was going to be terminated on June 30, 2021.
In a correspondence seen by Business Chronicle dated 16 August 2021 and addressed to the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Union (ZCPSTU) president, Ms Cecilia Alexander, by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Simon Masanga wrote:
“Reference is made to your letter dated 15 June 2021 wherein you requested for the duty-free import scheme on motor vehicle to continue.
“Please be advised that the scheme is still operational and applications are being processed for qualifying members.”
Mr Masanga, confirmed the development in an interview.
“It’s very true that the Government has continued the rebate on motor vehicle scheme for civil servants. That is one of the non-monetary benefits for civil servants,” he said.
“Civil servants requested that it be continued. The Public Service Commission and the Treasury agreed to continue with the programme until further notice.”
On June 15, 2021 ZCPSTU wrote to Government expressing concern over the 2020-2021 budget pronouncements to terminate the civil service rebate on motor vehicle scheme with effect from 30 June 2021.
The civil servants had appealed for the suspension of the termination of the rebate on motor vehicle scheme on account that the scheme coincided with Covid-19 lockdown measures.
This meant that those intending to take advantage of the scheme could not do so due to the lockdown restrictions.
“To date, only one percent of civil servants have benefited from the scheme as a result of the above.
“The scheme is one of the most appreciated, if not the most meaningful incentive scheme the Government of Zimbabwe has accorded its workers, it being a product of social dialogue,” said ZCPSTU.
The second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has vowed to continue improving the welfare of civil servants and ensure that they deliver quality service. According to the Treasury, Government employees and pensioners have received a cumulative $80 billion as salaries and other benefits in the first-half of the year as more benefits and adjustments are set to be effected before the end of the year.
Since January, the Government has been making regular salary adjustments to its employees while pension payouts have also been adjusted to cushion pensioners.
In July, civil servants received a salary increase of between 45 and 50 percent. In April the Government had made another increase of 25 percent in addition to a host of non-monetary benefits.
The National Social Security Authority also with effect from 1 July, reviewed monthly pension payouts to $3 000 as it rolled out plans to increase the funds to the equivalent of US$60 — about $4 900 at the official exchange rate — by year-end.
In his 2021 Mid-Term Budget and Economic Review, Prof Ncube said payment of salaries to Government employees since the year started has topped $80 billion. — @okazunga.