Zim central bank to cut 1 600 jobs
Zimbabwe’s central bank will lay off 74% of its workers as part of a drive to return focus to its core role as a monetary authority, the bank’s chief said in a statement on Tuesday.
Staff levels at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) grew more than 10-fold between 2003 and 2008 as it spearheaded a drive to pull the economy out of a severe crisis many blamed on President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.
RBZ governor Gideon Gono told a parliamentary committee the bank would lay off at least 1 600 employees, but state media said he had requested and had been granted permission to discuss the retrenchment costs in a private session.
“We are looking at retrenching 74% of the central bank’s staff,” Gono said. “I would like to say it is not one of the easiest tasks as it is going to be one of the largest retrenchments in the history of the country by a single institution,” he said, adding the bank had cut employees’ compensation proposals by two-thirds.
Gono was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.
A unity government formed by Mugabe and rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai 22 months ago adopted the use of foreign currencies, including South Africa’s rand and the US dollar, helping stabilise the economy and stemming hyperinflation.
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) blames Gono, a close Mugabe ally, of contributing to Zimbabwe’s economic collapse and has demanded the appointment of a new central bank governor.
Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980, denies his Zanu-PF is responsible for ruining one of Africa’s most promising economies and has staunchly resisted pressure to sack Gono.
The 86-year-old president says the Southern Africa country’s economy was sabotaged by his domestic opponents and was also wrecked by sanctions imposed by Western powers angry over his seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans.—Reuters.