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Zimbabwe civil servants smile all the way to the bank

by Staff reporter
19 Jul 2023 at 06:38hrs | Views
Civil servants smiled all the way to the bank yesterday as they started receiving along with the normal salary and allowances, a newly increased forex component of US$50 plus an additional local currency payment equivalent to US$150 converted at the prevailing interbank rate.

The increase backdated to June saw the least paid worker pocketing in foreign currency US$350 comprising this month's US$250 Covid-19 monthly allowance and the new US$50, plus last month's US$50. In addition there will be an extra payment of local currency valued at US$300, split evenly between the backdated payment from last month plus this month's payment.

Government workers are already enjoying a host of non-monetary benefits including housing schemes, importing vehicles duty-free, free transportation, school fees support for up to three biological children among others.

However, the Government remains committed to the welfare of its workers with negotiations for another increase underway.

As of yesterday, banks in Harare Central Business District were a hive of activity characterised by long winding queues with civil servants withdrawing their hard-earned cash.

The FBC Centre branch along Nelson Mandela had one of the longest queues throughout the day, while other banks such as POSB Mandela Branch and ZB First Street Branch mostly experienced long queues in the morning.

Yesterday many civil servants interviewed welcomed the development. Mr Ngonidzashe Baradza applauded the Government for being a listening one.

"I am more than grateful for the pay rise hoping the trend will continue. I can now cater for my basic needs easily by paying rentals and buying groceries," he said.

Another worker, Mrs Anna Chitora also hailed the new package.

"This is a noble gesture from our employer which will go a long way in cushioning us. Our only plea is that prices will remain stable as there are some rogue elements who sabotage the Government through hiking prices each time there is a salary increment," she said.

However, at CABS First Street Branch workers started receiving their monies a bit later as it was yet to reflect despite one of the bank's officials acknowledging that they had received the money from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

"The bank received the money but due to our system you will start to withdraw your money later," said a CABS official who addressed workers at the ATM's facility at around 9am.

One of the affected workers who bank with CABS who spoke on condition of anonymity was fuming over their failure to access money early.

"Some of our colleagues are receiving their money easily, even a few metres away at ZB Bank, but here we are told we will start to collect later. That should be rectified to avoid a similar situation next time," said the worker.

Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Union chairperson Mrs Cecilia Alexander also confirmed that workers have started receiving their increment.

"This will definitely come as a relief that will lessen the burden to the cost of living they were facing, however the negotiations will continue in order to bridge the gap between the cost of living," she said.

Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Union spokesperson Mr David Dzatsunga said the pay dates had been shifted to allow for the increment.

"We allowed for the increment to be effected while we talk because more money is needed to make things right for workers," he said.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima recently said the new package was meant to cushion workers from the rising cost of living.

"As you are aware, workers have been agitating for a long time to have their salaries restored to pre-October 2018 levels of US$540 per month. It is clear that Government is answering that call.

"But considering the economic challenges we have, we are going there progressively," he said.

The salaries, Minister Mavima said, will continue to be raised until the workers' demands are met.

"As has been said, the NJNC will reconvene for further deliberations, but for now, Government has come up with a workable offer as we wait for another review," he continued.

"If you do your calculations well, we are now only about US$100 short of meeting that demand."

Source - The Herald
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