HARARE – Despite its recent propaganda to the contrary, President Robert Mugabe’s government admitted yesterday that it was so broke that it could not manage to pay all civil servants their June salaries.
The embarrassing admission was contained in a Treasury circular that announced that the government would once again stagger the pay of civil servants this month, with some of them to receive their salaries only in mid-July.
Miffed government workers promptly slated the move, calling on Mugabe and his ministers to prioritise their welfare.
“I am pleased to advise that Treasury has successfully mobilised resources towards the full settlement of the 2015 bonus commitment.
“However, you are aware that against the background of severe revenue under-performance and related cash-flow challenges, government has been honouring its monthly wage bill obligations, albeit, through the continuous shifting of pay dates.
“It is on account of the above cash flow challenges that have necessitated… minister of Finance, in his communication copied to yourself, mobilisation of the requisite resources,” part of the circular signed by Treasury secretary Willard Manungo said.
The public sector wage bill currently gobbles more than 80 percent of government revenues.
According to yesterday’s communiqué, the Zimbabwe National Army and Air Force of Zimbabwe will get their salaries on June 27, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services on June 30 and teachers only on July 7.
The health sector and the rest of the civil service will only get their June salaries deep into the next month, on July 14 — while pensioners will have to wait as far as July 19 for their June pensions.
Earlier this week, the much-harassed Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, John Mangudya, said the government was taking a number of measures to mitigate the country’s escalating liquidity crisis.
“Queues that you see at the banks, it’s not a run on deposits, but government has now spread pay dates, meaning almost every week some government workers will be paid,” he said.
In a statement yesterday, the Progressive Teachers Union Zimbabwe (PTUZ), described the announcement of the June pay dates as “shocking”.
“Without saying much, the battle-lines have been drawn. It’s clear that we will not be working from the 26th as we will not be having money for transport. We will also be classified as bad debtors from many service providers.
“Surely, it is time to fight this monster. We find it quite disturbing that government was not honest to divulge this painful reality in an NJNC (National Joint Negotiating Committee) meeting that happened 48 hours ago. It simply shows all was being done in bad faith,” the union said.