Job cuts loom in civil service

GOVERNMENT will have to implement a raft of measures, including rationalisation and abolition of posts, to cut the wage bill which gobbles more than 80% of revenues as it seeks to save nearly US$400 million annually, a civil service audit report has revealed.

Kudzai Kuwaza

The audit carried out between February and April this year recommends far-reaching reforms to meet government’s target of reducing the wage bill from 80% to under 40% of revenue as indicated by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in his mid-term fiscal policy presentation.

workers

The audit, seen by the Zimbabwe Independent, recommends cutting down the wage bill “through restructuring, multitasking and multi-skilling in the medium to long-term.”

It reveals that there are 188 070 workers in government, concurred to by Treasury, covering 24 line ministries, of which 160 083 are on government’s payroll with 20 801 vacant posts as at July 1 2015.

The audit found that in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, schools are overstaffed by 5 588 teachers. The report recommended that recruitment of temporary and relief teachers be put on hold until excess staff is absorbed.

“In the long-term the teacher establishment should not exceed 102 600 teachers,” the report says.

In the Higher Education ministry, the audit established that teacher training and polytechnic colleges are overstaffed by 1 716 lecturers, and recommended recruitment of lecturers be frozen until excess staff is redeployed.

The report also discloses that 121 agricultural extension officers have been deployed in urban areas where there are no posts, as well as duplication of posts between Agritex and livestock production departments. The report recommends that the 121 workers be redeployed outside urban areas.

The audit prescribes rationalisation of 2 000 accounting officer posts in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, as well as the rationalisation of posts in various ministries, including rationalisation of 73 posts in the Ministry of Sport, Tourism (20), Information (25) and Women’s Affairs (59).

“If all recommendations are implemented, a potential saving of US$388 729 012 will be realised per annum (US$32 421 211 monthly),” the report states.

Contacted on the findings, Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira refused to comment saying she would only do so after finalisation by cabinet. The audit exercise will not result in the loss of jobs through retrenchments, but would significantly reduce wage costs, she said.

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