Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter
Government says it has registered success in its negotiations with civil servants over salaries and other employment terms and is planning continuous improvements on the welfare of public servants.
This follows industrial actions which disrupted service delivery for the better part of the year, particularly in the education and health sectors.
The constant erosion of salaries in the first half of the year was caused by macro-economic instability.
A raft of measures implemented by President Mnangagwa’s administration to insulate the local currency against devaluation, however arrested the instability in the second half of the year.
The Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) which will be succeeded by the National Development Strategy 1 at the end of this month, brought stability to the market.
Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima outlined Government’s success in the collective bargaining exercise.
“Government has succeeded in its engagements with civil servants. We came to a conclusion that saw their salaries being improved.
This can also be attributed to success recorded on the macro economic front.
“As Government, we are always looking at improving the conditions of civil servants.
“They will all get their bonuses and some have already received theirs. Those who are yet to receive will get them in batches,” said.
Minister Mavima said President Mnangagwa placed importance on the welfare of public servants as evidenced by his direction to pay Covid-19 relief allowances to help them through the economic impact caused by the pandemic.
“During the first phases of the Covid-19 pandemic, all civil servants were paid Covid-19 relief allowances by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, which were directed by the President,” said Minister Mavima.
Prices of basic commodities are stabilising and marginally decreasing on selected items since the introduction of the foreign exchange auction system in June.
Fuel, sugar, cooking oil, rice and bread are among commodities whose prices have moved southwards in recent months, bringing relief to consumers who had become accustomed to prices changing.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director Ms Rosemary Siyachitema said although there was stability it was not yet at a stage where consumers could celebrate.
“The stability and reduction of prices has been there, but it is not yet at a stage where we can celebrate, the reduction is not that much, but it is better though.
“On electricity, yes there has been a slight reduction, but like I said, it is not yet a stage where we can celebrate. The consumers now can spend, but it is not yet enough,” said Ms Siyachitema.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Dr Tinashe Manzungu commended Government for the way it has handled the salary negotiations and adjustments for civil servants.
Dr Manzungu said it was a delicate process where there was need to improve the conditions of service for workers, but at the same time, not crippling industries.
He said too high salaries which were not backed by revenue inflows, risked scaring away investment from the country by making labour a huge cost centre and unsustainable.