Main News Zimbabwe

10 000 ghost workers struck off payroll

Dr Rosemary Tsitsi Choruma

Blessings Chidakwa

Herald Reporter

At least 10 000 suspected ghost workers have been struck off the Government payroll after a biometric registration exercise as the Second Republic walks the talk on its reforms aimed at restoring order in the civil service.

The eliminated names are of those whose biometric data was non-compliant under the exercise that was assisted by the World Bank.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has also reassured its workers that their welfare remains a top priority in the coming year promising continued engagement on sustainable salaries while new non-monetary incentives, including another 120 buses to boost the fleet that brings civil servants to and from work, are being worked out.

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Other existing non-monetary incentives such as affording civil servants housing schemes and duty rebate on vehicle imports will also be retained in 2021.

During last week’s workshop for the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, the PSC and the Apex Council grouping staff associations, PSC head of human capital development and management, Mr Moses Mhike, said the exercise of flushing out ghost workers was continuous.

“Ghost workers are no longer an issue. We have managed to account for those on the Salary Service Bureau,” he said.

“We conducted a biometric exercise to get the data of all civil servants and comparing with the Registrar’s office. We realised that about 10 000 were not biometric compliant and traced them at each and every work station.”

PSC Secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe said the PSC simply eliminated ghost workers by withdrawing salaries to those who were non-complaint to the biometric exercise.

“We made sure that we stopped paying those non complaint and only the legitimate ones came forward. However, the exercise should be an ongoing thing,” he said.

The biometric registration was implemented with the assistance of the World Bank as part of efforts to weed out ghost workers and modernise management of the civil service.

Ambassador Wutawunashe also said the Pay As You Go pension scheme, which sees civil servant pensions paid out of contributions made by working members, is being replaced with the Defined Benefit Pension Plan whereby pension contributions from working civil servants are invested to fund their future pensions.

As part of the restricting of the civil service there was need to fully adopt Information Communication Technology for modernisation.

PSC Commissioner, Dr Rosemary Tsitsi Choruma, said the benefit of duty free imports for civil servants vehicles remains in place.

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“While PSC buses are now visible on the roads there is still a shortage and 120 are on their way. In terms of housing there has been confusion with National Building Society following ongoing events at NSSA which are being resolved. But we are also using the pension fund; we are looking for other serviced land across the country,” she said.

Dr Choruma said workers can use an advance $75 million availed by Treasury as seed capital for the Government Employees Mutual Savings (GEMS) fund.

GEMS is a voluntary scheme which mobilises savings by Government workers to create wealth for the benefit of members while in employment and when they leave work.

She said the PSC has also made tremendous strides in promoting gender equality in line with the Constitution with a new department having been created in the commission called Diversity and Gender.

“Every ministry will now have a qualified gender focal person and we also launched a draft sexual harassment policy,” said Dr Choruma.

Apex Council president Mrs Cecilia Alexander said dialogue remains the key pillar between the workers and Government.

HERALD