GOVERNMENT is not ready to pay civil servants in United States Dollars, Finance minister Professor Mthuli Ncube told legislators in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Ncube said the existing salary structure of US$ and ZW$ being used by the government would continue but revealed that consideration to a cost of living adjustment.
He was responding to opposition MPs who demanded to know what the government was doing to ensure civil servants are paid living wages as inflation had completely eroded their salaries.
Said Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya; “in view of the dwindling levels of the quality of life where poverty is on the increase, is the government able to provide solutions with regards to the current economic challenges which we are facing the country?”
Responding, Prof Ncube said: “We have pursued largely a two pronged strategy for salaries only, the monetary benefits. We have a ZWL component and we have a USD component.
“We introduced the USD component in order to manage the inflationary pressures that civil servants are facing. The first thing we did was to introduce the USD75 amount as part of the Covid-19 risk allowance measures and then we added USD100 per person.
“As I speak, we are seized with discussions with the leaders of the civil service in terms of the union to agree on a new package. We are working hard on it and will also be beneficiaries of those discussions.”
The minister told Speaker Jacob Mudenda that the government was having discussions on how to improve civil servants’ salaries taking into account the current inflationary levels and the hike in prices in our shops.
He however, explained that “government had not been so lucky when it came to managing some of the international forces, the spill-overs from the geo-political situation resulting in inflation, high fuel crisis which we have partial control.”
The government is already under pressure from restive State workers with a nurses union announcing that members would go on strike next Monday citing “incapacitation” as inflation erodes the value of their salaries amid increasing prices of basic commodities.