Zimbabwe govt raises civil servants' pay

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Public Service, Eliphas Mukonoweshuro on Tuesday announced wage increases for civil servants that will see some workers earn double their current $100 monthly allowance.

Since February this year Zimbabwe’s new coalition government has been paying civil servants a flat monthly “allowance” of $100, which many say is too little to feed and clothe their families.

The allowances replaced salaries in virtually worthless Zimbabwean dollars, which the new government suspended and replaced with hard currency shortly after its formation.

Instead of the uniform $100, civil servants will now be paid according to the demands of their profession. The minister did not give details of the new pay scales, saying only wages had been increased by on average 55%.

Teachers and nurses would earn $155 a month, while a doctor would earn $170.

Mukonoweshuro said the $526-million salary bill would swallow 52% of the government’s meagre 2009 budget but that government felt the increases were necessary to motivate and retain essential staff.

“It is a promissory note to show that we are not static. We are moving.
It shows that better times lie ahead,” he said.

The pay levels were comparable to those in neighbouring countries like Mozambique and Zambia, “but we can’t be compared with South Africa yet”, he said.

At its formation in February, the government led by rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said it needed between $8-billion and $10-billion for the country’s long-term economic reconstruction.

Donors have offered only a fraction of their demands, saying the government needs to show signs of greater commitment to democratic
reforms. - Sapa-DPA

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