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'Forex allowances won't affect national budget projections'

by Staff reporter
20 Jun 2020 at 08:13hrs | Views
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube has said the US$75 allowance and 50 percent salary increment for civil servants will not affect national budget projections.

Government this week announced a new package for civil servants to cushion them against the prevailing economic challenges.

In an interview yesterday during a familiarisation tour of Beitbridge Border Post, Professor Ncube said more interventions will be rolled out in due course to address challenges facing most Government employees and Zimbabweans in general.

"On the national budget we are very comfortable and we are able to meet the needs of the civil servants as planned. After all they work very hard but inflation has been depressing their wages and salaries. We felt the need to increase their salaries by 50 percent on the Zimbabwean dollar component and introduce a US$75 non-taxable allowance for three months," he said.

"The whole idea is to ease the Covid-19 pressures while we manage and contain the pandemic. Of course, this is the beginning, we have said that we will look at other non-monetary measures to support the civil servants. You will note that the foreign currency allowance is an inflation protector."

The Minister continued; "Inflation has been moving up sharply due to some activities on the markets which we do not really control as the Government. The market has not been stable, but we are keen to make sure that civil servants are protected".

He said there is nothing stopping the private sector from paying their workers in foreign currency although they will have to pay tax in the currency of trade as specified by law.

Professor Ncube said the $18 billion economic recovery package announced by Government recently will cover largely the agriculture, mining, industry and small to medium enterprises.

The Minister said $6,1 billion will be committed to the agriculture sector.

"The mining sector, especially gold is one of our major foreign currency earners and here we are committing $1 billion, while another $3 billion will be spent on reviving industries and small to medium enterprises, arts and sports.

"In addition, you will note that the tourism area has been hard hit by the area and we are offering a Government guarantee for those wishing to secure funding to revive their entities," he said.

Minister Ncube said Government is considering reviewing cash payments to vulnerable citizens from $180 to $300 to benefit at least one million Zimbabweans. He said Government had so far registered 200 000 people and encouraged more people to register with the Department of Social Welfare in order to benefit. These, he said should include returnees from various countries who do not have a source of livelihood.

"I have also taken note of the operational challenges at Beitbridge Border Post, which generates 31 percent of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority's (Zimra) annual income. There is a need to deploy more resources which include helicopters, all-terrain vehicles and construction of staff accommodation to the border to enhance efficiency issues and minimise intrusive leakages around the border with South Africa. These should cover, customs, immigration and security services," said Prof Ncube.

Source - chronicle