Civil servants will get bonuses this month as it emerged the inclusive government has agreed to use funds from the sale of Chiadzwa diamonds to pay its employees.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told reporters soon after a meeting with President Robert Mugabe and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara yesterday the principals had agreed government had an obligation to pay bonuses.
“On the question of the forthcoming bonuses, you are aware that Zimbabwe will be selling diamonds.
“ . . . We hope to raise $300 million in November for the bonuses. This is a matter that is ongoing and I hope the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu will give a report to Cabinet on the sale of diamonds,” he said.
Asked what would happen if the diamonds money failed to materialise, Tsvangirai said: “We have an obligation to pay bonuses . . . We will have to look for money elsewhere if the money does not come.”
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme last week gave Zimbabwe the green light to sell its diamonds after intense lobbying during a meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, ending two years of dispute that had divided the organisation.
Mines minister Mpofu has indicated diamonds could generate an estimated $2 billion annually, which money would help transform the country’s economy.
The diamonds had created tension in the inclusive government with allegations from Finance minister Tendai Biti that revenue from the gems was not going to Treasury, while Mpofu and President Mugabe insisted Treasury was receiving money.
At one time President Mugabe accused Biti of refusing to hike civil servants’ salaries although he was receiving revenue from diamonds, but the minister maintained the money was not coming to him.
The development is, however, likely to be good news for civil servants, earning salaries well below the poverty datum line, hovering around $500.