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Private sector urged to adjust workers' salaries

by Staff reporter
04 Aug 2019 at 10:01hrs | Views
The private sector should adjust salaries to cushion its workers from rising prices similar to the way Government has responded to the plight of civil servants who, in addition to getting more than $606 million in salaries and cushioning allowances since the beginning of the year, will be receiving a further salary increase soon and bonus payments at the end of the year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.

In an interview with South Africa-based CNBC Africa — an African pay television network — a day after the Mid-Term Fiscal Review Statement, Professor Ncube said some private sector companies, especially exporters, were not translating their profits into adequate rewards and compensation for their "hardworking employees".

"You know what is happening, though, is that the private sector is not following suit. With the profits that they are making, especially exporters, in terms of currency translation after the introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar. They should be increasing wages for their employees, but they are not doing that," he said.

"So we as Government are doing our part; the private sector is not doing its part. I urge them to do that so that we can all move together and deal with the issue of wage erosion for Zimbabwe workers; they work so hard and we need to ensure that they are adequately compensated and rewarded."

Government, he said, has tried its best to offer relief to civil servants as it has paid $606 million — $206 million in cushioning allowances and a cost of living adjustment worth $400 million — since the beginning of the year.

He made assurances that Government would not only "increase salaries further", but would pay the "usual annual bonus" as the funds have already been budgeted for.

"We have budgeted for it (civil servants salaries). It is not true that the civil servants are not happy; actually the reverse is true. We have done three things already: we have paid $63 million at the beginning of the year for the first three months of the year in a cushioning allowance in addition to salaries. We did a salary adjustment worth about $400 million on April 1 to the rest of the year. And just last week (a fortnight ago), we did another cushioning allowance worth $143 million — one-off – and we are negotiating to increase salaries further. We have budgeted for this . . . and come year-end we will pay them their usual annual bonus in the form of a 13th cheque," he said.

Treasury believes that the rising prices are being caused by currency movements, which began when the RTGS balance and bond notes and coins were separated from the US dollar.

However, Government believes that the continued management of expenses and growing revenues, including recovering exports and declining imports, will be able to support the value of the Zimbabwe dollar.

Electricity Imports

Prof Ncube said Government's ability to generate more revenues and contain its expenses has put more than $800 million – US$100 million surplus using the interbank rate – at its disposal, which is currently being used to make payment plans to import electricity from both Mozambique and South Africa.

The US$10 million released to Eskom of South Africa to service part of the country's outstanding US$30 million bill was also hewn from the surplus.

"First of all, it is the surplus that we used to pay, basically, the US$10 million that we paid to Eskom a couple of weeks ago, but also going forward, it would be through the surplus that we would be able to use to structure a final arrangement to make sure that Eskom can continue to supply Zimbabwe . . .

"Equally, we will structure similar arrangements with Mozambique and certainly the surplus is going to be used to deal with the power supply issue . . ."

Additional $5 billion for Infrastructure

Notwithstanding the drought of the 2018/2019 season – which has cut output from the agriculture sector by 16 percent, forcing Government to set aside $624 million for grain imports – Government has further allocated an additional $5,2 billion to be used in the remaining five months of the year to continue major infrastructural projects in health, roads and dam construction.

Of the amount, US$68 million will be used to complete the acquisition of 100 fully equipped ambulances.

Already, a lot of headway has been made in both construction, rehabilitation and equipping health institutions, including in rural areas, in line with the Second Republic's vision to improve the quality of lives for the people.

Mvurwi, Kadoma and Ndanga district hospitals have since had their wards uplifted, while waste and laundry facilities have been upgraded.

Further, refurbishment of Mutare, Gweru, Masvingo and Gwanda Provincial Hospitals – which targeted theatres, general and maternity wards – was completed during the first half of this year.

Construction of Lupane Provincial Hospital will begin this month.

Food Security

To capacitate farmers who were affected by the drought, Government has shelled out a further $650 million for vulnerable communities, while commercial farmers who have a proven track record will get $1 billion to grow maize and soyabeans.

Also, in line with Government determination to move from rain-fed agriculture, an additional $141 million was allocated for irrigation development.

Similarly, $133 million will be used to continue construction of Marovanyati, Causeway, Gwayi Shangani, Chivhu and Sengwa dams.

The momentum on road construction projects, particularly to put tar on all trunk roads around the country and upgrade rural feeder roads, will continue while support for social protection programmes such as the urban mass public transport system that has received an additional $104 million will be enhanced. Ends



Source - sundamail

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