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Civil servants get 40% pay rise (30% cut given 100% inflation), thin end of very thick hyperinflation wedge

11 Jul 2019 at 06:39hrs | Views
"CIVIL servants yesterday started receiving a cushioning allowance while the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) convened a meeting to discuss an increment and other conditions of service for Government employees," reported the Chronicle.

"Members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces received the adjusted salary with other members of the civil service expected to get their money on their scheduled pay dates. Those who spoke to our Harare Bureau yesterday said they received an adjustment which ranged from around 40 percent of their usual salaries."

One does not need a degree in economics to know that 40% pay increase when inflation is a staggering 100% is a pay cut!

One does not need a degree in anything to know that the 40% pay rise for the civil servants will only fuel the 100% inflation rate because government will never increase its collected revenue to march. Government will print money to finance its soaring expenditure and in turn fuel inflation. This is just the thin end of the wedge and so we can be certain inflation will increase above the present 100%.

Whatever wage increase the civil servants agree with the government this time it is supposed to last the next six months regardless of what happens to the inflation rate. The Minister of Finance, Professor Mthuli Ncube, has already said the prices of fuel and electricity tariff will go up. No prices for guessing that they will go up by more than the 40%, they will not be fixed for the next six months, prices of other basics such as food, medicine, etc. will also go up, etc.
Now it is clear why government was a rush to end the use of the US$, SA Rand and all the other foreign currencies as legal tender. The regime knew the traders and workers alike would demand to be paid in the foreign currency and not the local currency that is losing its value. The effect of imposing a trading currency that people have no confidence in will be a drop in economic activity.

We are back to the hyperinflation days of 2008 days of empty shop shelves and shortages of everything except money. At its peak inflation was 500 billion% and Z$ 35 quadrillion (35 followed by 24 zeros) was worth US$1.00. Things like one's salary, savings and pension which was not review often enough to catch up with inflation were not worth collecting! People lost their lifetime savings, many companies closed and never re-opened and the national economy collapsed forcing millions into abject poverty. It is heart-breaking that the 2008 nightmare years are back again!

Minister Ncube has also announced that he will be buying cars for ministers, MPs and the rest of ruling elite. "The lawmakers have been patient for nine months and now it was time to give them what is due to them," the Minister argued.

And we, the ordinary Zimbabweans, who have waited patiently; first during colonial rule and now 39 years under this Zanu PF dictatorship; for our freedom and human rights including the right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country and even the right to life itself: what do we get? Yet another rigged election, worsening economic hardships and brutal repression if we dare complain about the rigged elections or soaring cost of living.

Millions of ordinary Zimbabweans today live in abject poverty, living on US$30 per month or less, and many are dying of poverty induced hunger and illnesses. Even the most basic services such as education, health care, supply of electricity and clean running water have all but collapsed. The worsening economic situation and the soaring inflation will make the poor's lives hell-on-earth. In contrast the country's few filthy rich have it all and their extravagant lifestyles know no limit.

The root cause of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown and grinding mass poverty is the political power disparity between the ruling elite and the ordinary people. Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies have enjoyed absolute power, they have denied the ordinary people their freedoms and basic human rights including the right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country and a fair share of it wealth and resources and even the right to life.

The people have remained powerless and voiceless. Although the people have been aware of the criminal waste of the nation's human and material resources through mismanagement and corruption, they have failed to stop the waste because Zanu PF rigged the elections to remain in power regardless of the democratic wishes of the people.

Unemployment has soared to nauseating heights of 90%; ¾ of our people now live on US$30 per month or less, way below the poverty datum level of US$650; etc. This economic situation is socially, politically and morally unsustainable. We need to restore the people's freedoms and human rights as the necessary first step to meaningful political change and economic recovery. It will be criminal to allow this situation to continue; the good of the many, the very survival of the nation cannot be sacrifice to gratify the insatiable greed of the few.

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