Norton independent legislator Temba Mliswa has urged fellow legislators from ZANU-PF party and MDC, not to pass the supplementary budget, unless the civil servants get a pay increment.
The supplementary budget was presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube on the 1st of August.
Zimbabwe is facing a sharp increase in inflation, this has eroded the value of civil servants monthly salaries. In response to salaries erosion through inflation, the government gave its workers $400 cushioning allowance last month, an amount considered insignificant, as prices of basic commodities continues to skyrocket.
Mliswa noted that there was no need for the government to disburse cushioning allowances, but to provide salaries that are in tandem to the United States Dollar interbank rate.
“There’s no need for a cushioning allowance if salaries are pegged correctly. A cushion only serves to disguise the hard seat below!” said Mliswa.
Mliswa has set a condition on which the budget can be passed, that is upon the remuneration of civil servants with salaries that are at par with US Dollar to the Zimbabwean currency.
“This is a condition that must be met and upon money deposited in accounts, we’ll pass the budget. Not the other way around. We can’t backtrack,” said Mliswa.
The Norton legislator said that the amount of remuneration civil servants must be getting are supposed to be pegged at interbank rate.
“There’s no way we’ll pass a budget without civil servants getting what they deserve. Salaries and allowances must be at interbank,” added Mliswa.
ZANU-PF legislator Joseph Chinotimba is of the same notion that the civil servants salaries should be pegged at par with the interbank rate.
“I am saying this because we are also representatives of the workers. The workers are not getting any money. It is not sufficient for them. It should have been equated to the interbank rate,” said the militant Chinotimba.
Chinotimba highlighted that the Finance minister should have increased the salaries at the same time he presented the supplementary budget.
“We are saying, in this Supplementary Budget, the Minister should have cushioned the civil servants and increased the salaries, In fact, the money that was increased by the Ministry of Finance should have gone to the Ministry of Public Service so that the workers could get adequate salaries,” added Chinotimba.
The Buhera Legislator said government was still using the USD1:ZW$1 rate to pay civil servants which it abandoned few months ago thus causing suffering amongst the workers.
He said that the new interbank stance government introduced, has caused the skyrocketing of basic goods which are now beyond reach of the government workers.
Cuurrently a civil servant earning the unchanged salary of ZW$400 is in reality earning about ZW$44.00 using the approved interbank rate.
“The issue at hand Mr Speaker is that diesel prices are going up, the bus fares are also going up and the worker is still on US$1 to Z$1when he is now paying a fare of $5 from Glen View to come here. To come from my home area Birchenough to Harare, they are now paying $70 and the worker who is earning $300 cannot visit his home area,” said Chinotimba
Mbizo legislator settlement Chikwinya described the supplementary budget presented by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube on the 1st of August as inhumane and toxic because it fails to safeguard the social net.
“We cannot pass a budget that does a 500% increment in ZESA, 100% increment in all other services but a 48% increment in civil servants’ salaries, that is an inhumane budget and a toxic budget,” said Chikwinya.
The Finance minister announced a surplus on his budget but has failed to peg the living standards of workers to the current economic crisis.
SADC News Zimbabwe Correspondent
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.