THE Ministry of Public Service has embarked on a nationwide audit to establish the actual number of civil servants and to fish out â€œghostâ€ workers in a bid to control a ballooning wage bill.
The move to audit the civil service comes at a time when there are reports that thousands of youths employed by Zanu PF countrywide were on governmentâ€™s payroll.
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, Public Service minister, confirmed the six-week audit to determine the state of the public service.
â€œWe are in the process of conducting a service-wide audit to establish the number of civil servants in the public service because when the economy was not performing, many civil servants left in a non-formal manner while a few left formally,â€ Mukonoweshuro told the Zimbabwe Independent this week.
â€œThe audit will establish the strength of the civil service.â€
He said the results of the audit would be used to determine the wage bill in the face of measures to revive the countryâ€™s economy.
Mukonoweshuro said the audit would be completed in May and a report would be forwarded to him and government in June.
â€œThe audit will be completed by end of May and in June, we expect to have a report that will reveal the actual number of civil servants we have in the country. All this will be done to ensure that we have control of the wage bill as we attempt to revive the economy,â€ he said.
Turning to assertions that Zanu PF youths were on government payroll, Mukonoweshuro said he had received reports to that effect and the audit sought to expose ghost workers.
â€œThe audit will address such issues,â€ he said. â€œWe have heard such reports that Zanu PF militias are on the government payroll and as long as there is no such evidence that cannot be official.â€
He added that the audit would also probe allegations of government workers employed unprocedurally.
A fortnight ago, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Savious Kasukuwere was taken to task in parliament on reports that Zanu PF graduates of the National Youth Programme were on the government payroll.
In response, Kasukuwere denied that the youths were doing work for Zanu PF but said they were on national duty and were paid from state coffers.
His response, however, prompted legislators to call for an investigation to establish how many Zanu PF youths were on the government payroll.
It has also emerged that thousands of government workers who left the country several years ago in search of greener pastures were still on the government payroll.
BY LOUGHTY DUBE