Govt shells out US$100m on civil servants’ bonuses ahead of 2023 polls
GOVERNMENT will spend about US$100 million on underpaid civil servants’ bonuses to be processed in two batches, one for the lower grades and the other for higher echelons. This comes as the wage bill is shooting up again.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has set aside ZW$2.2 trillion for employment costs, inclusive of grant-aided institutions and pensioners, medical aid and pension contributions.
This amount includes ZW$659.4 billion and ZW$336.5 billion for salaries and allowances, for education and health sectors respectively. The share of employment costs to total expenditure is projected at 52.4% in 2023, a huge increase from US$42.3 million in 2023.
“The increase in the employment cost level is on account of the needs to cushion civil servants against the impact of global economic challenges and domestic price increases.”
Ministry of Finance sources told The NewsHawks that the total bill for civil servants’ bonuses will be US$100 million at an average of US$350 for 300 000 workers. That means US$105 million.
Said a Ministry of Finance official: “As you are aware, government is paying bonuses to civil servants from November to December, that means we are going to spend at least US$100 000 if you calculate using an average of US$300 or US$350 per person. We have about 300 000 civil servants and that gives us that figure.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has offered a surprise US$200 top-up bonus for all civil servants, wading into the government’s dispute with the PSC over bonuses.
This comes as the government will spend another US$100 million on general elections next year. Zimbabwe’s 2023 elections are expected to gobble up ZW$76 billion (US$116 million).
The country will hold presidential, parliamentary, and local municipal elections simultaneously, likely on a date in July or August, according to estimates by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Ncube set aside the amount when he presented the 2023 National Budget in Parliament recently.
“The country will hold harmonised elections in 2023, as enshrined in the constitution. The preparations have already commenced, which include the delimitation exercise, voter registration and voters’ roll inspection.
“The 2023 National Budget is setting aside resources to cover voter registration ZW$12 billion, voter inspection ZW$11 billion and actual election conduct ZW$53 billion, among others.”
The government has said all civil servants will be paid bonuses, reversing its earlier announcement that the 13th cheque for directors and above was performance-based.
The Public Service Commission had said performance-based bonuses for all civil servants will only be effected next year.
The government said it will pay bonuses over two months, November and December as it is experiencing financial problems.