Civil service wage bill to be reduced — Biti

FINANCE minister Tendai Biti yesterday said the government was working on reducing the civil service wage bill as it had become unsustainable and one of the highest in the region.

Report by Tarisai Mandizha

Addressing participants at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries economic outlook symposium in Harare, Biti said the country has an unsustainably high civil service wage bill and Treasury was working on a three-year timeline to reduce government expenditure.

Although he did not specify the strategy to reduce the wage bill, observers said the only way was to deal with thousands of ghost workers in the civil service who were reportedly engaged on partisan basis by the then Zanu PF regime.

“We are working on a three-year timeline to reduce the civil service wage bill to make it 30% of the government’s expenditure,” Biti said.

Currently, workers’ salaries gobble nearly $2,6 billion, which translates to 70% of the government’s total revenue collections.

Biti added that although teachers were still earning salaries below the poverty datum line of $572, their counterparts in countries like Zambia were earning much less.

“If you look at a teacher in Zimbabwe and a teacher in Zambia there is a big difference. If Zimbabwe was a private company, it would have closed. It wouldn’t have been functioning,” Biti said.

On Tuesday, Biti disclosed that after paying civil servants, government was only left with $217 in its coffers, although he later claimed he was quoted out of context as he had only been emphasising that the government was broke and spending a lot in paying civil servants.

Speaking at the same event, University of Zimbabwe economics professor Tony Hawkins said: “This is profoundly depressing, not only because the Zimbabwe state is already too big, but also because it is unaffordable.

Government spends and collects in revenue, some 35% of gross domestic product (GDP) compared with 27% (average) for Africa and 25% for Asia.” He added that over half the total spending goes to 230 000 civil servants, the highest ratio of public service wages to GDP in sub-Saharan Africa except in Lesotho.


37 Responses to Civil service wage bill to be reduced — Biti

  1. Martin February 1, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Its high we reduce the wage bill, but the Minister should also look at their perks starting from the bloated hierarchy which own three top of the range vehicles each. How can a third world minister, deputy minister and permanent secretaries drive vehicles like Jeep, Mercedes, Landrovers, Izusus, surely lets be serious. Lets not target labour costs only we need a holistic and scientific approach in reducing gvt. expenditure.

  2. Mambo February 1, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    The ghost workers issue needs to be dealt with decisively if the nation has any hopes of improving the earnings of the civil servants.Why is the government not taking serious steps to address that issue.What problem is the government facing in dealing with the issue.

  3. Zhou February 1, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    How long will it tek to clear these hooligans who hev always threatened our lives but now we meet them in banks taking home the same amount of money as us

  4. Thabani February 1, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    Its taking ages to wipe off ghost workers since 2009 why?but zimbabwe has one of the best auding companies ,the same way they managed to flush out Kasukuwere militia on our pat roll the same way they can do it in defense , police and agriculture.Then it comes to a bloated cabinet the demograph is unacceptable let alone they are looting daily and funning nepotism . The audit of the farms should be a grand success of 2013 ie Mujuru family has 23 farms ,Joseph Made has 250 tractors under a tent in his farm meant fr small scale farmers under Gono’s notourious mechanisation projects .

    • John weku Mabvuku February 2, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Thabani, OPEN your eyes, this ghost worker story has been with us since times, the TRUTH however is that the top 17% of the civil service gobble 85% of the govt wage bill! Calculate how many MPs+ cabinet ministers+dipolomats abroad +deputies+perm secs+directors+assistant directors+Provincial governors+PAs +++++. This bracket alone takes home more than 85% of the entire figure and yet the idiot thinks he can play politics with us and say “there are ghost workers employed by ZANUPF!” and surprisingly we fall for such nonsense in our politically polarised, warped minds. The fact is one minister can pay between 25 and 30 low grade workers, who by some cruel hand of fate, inadvertently, happen to be the electorate! Yu do the Maths!

  5. chapwititi February 1, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    They destroyed and are still destroying under indegenisation programmes, the only way foward is to have someone with a vision to lead us, about 90% of companies that used to operate are still closed. Once we allow companies to reopen and operate freely then our industry will employ more pple then tax will be generated again. Kutonga hakudi demo, nyika yose yava mupedzanhamo, tinosvika kupi chaizvo.

  6. Komichi February 1, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    At the moment most of the goods are still very expensive,the only way to tackle this is to revisit things like rentals,bills(water and electricity).we need the industry to perform.Mr Biti sungai dzisimbe.they are some who are happy ne state ye economy yedu.

  7. jabe February 1, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    the Kasukuwere people are still appearing on the payroll. they are still there my dear friend.

  8. Igwe February 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Should civil servants still expect any salary increament this year, if not then things are bound to get worse, there is going to be more corruption in the country.

  9. Sir African February 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    It will be a good If they start by firing lucia Matibenga. She hates civil servants and any other employee.

  10. This Not Zambia February 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Can someone tell mBiti than we are not Zambians, we don’t use Kwachas and we are earning less than South Africans! Don’t compare use with the least but compare us with the best! Nxa

    • Francine February 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      2012 GDP figures for Southern African Countries.

      1. South Africa $390.19 billion, Upper Middle Income Country.

      2. Angola $114.83 billion, Lower Middle Income Country.

      3. Zambia $20.68 billion, Lower Middle Income Country.

      4. Botswana $ 17.64 billion, Upper Middle Income Country.

      5. Mozambique $ 14.64 billion, Low Income Country.

      6. Namibia $ 12.14 billion, Upper Middle Income Country.

      7. Zimbabwe $ 10.79 billion, Low Income Country.

      8. Malawi $ 4.49 billion, Low Income Country.

      9. Swaziland $ 3.65 billion, Lower Middle Income Country.

      10. Lesotho $2.62 billion, Lower Middle Income Country.

      A Zambian teacher gets K2700 in their rebased currency. This is equivalent to US $540.A responsible government prioritizes its expenditure. The Zambian government has seen it fit not to waste the nations purse on recurrent expenditure. They have to leave something for capital expenditure like roads, power stations, water reticulation systems etc. They dont want to find themselves in a situation where they pay every Jim and Jack very high salaries only to remain with $217 in a government account. You should never imitate your neighbour’s spending habits if your income cannot allow it. Learn to prioritize. South Africa and Botswana are Upper Middle Income countries with per capita incomes approaching $10, 000. Zimbabwe’s per capita income is a mere $700 .

  11. cj February 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Mr Biti please, check zim’s gdp n then compare salaries against zim’s gdp n’ not other countries.

  12. Ngazvirehwe Sezvazviri February 1, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    While Mbiti,sorry Biti is talking about reducing the Civil Service wage bill there are plans to actually increase govt expenditure by increasing the number of MPs and creating new bodies like the Prosecuting Authority and the Land Commission according to the proposed new constitution.The civil service is okay at the bottom save for the ghost workers but too bloated at the top, there are too many Directors in the civil service.The middle and top management of the civil service gobble much more than is expected in an economy like ours.The pecks and benefits enjoyed by these fat cats are just too much for an ailing economy like ours.The sooner this is realised the better.The problem is that we have perfected the art of moving in circles instead of straight lines.

    • chombo February 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

      They appear as if they dont know where the real big chunk is going,yet they know it that its them and their bloated govnmnt that is making the general people suffer.its up there where the looting is taking place.Politicians are the same.bastards.

  13. Ngazvirehwe Sezvazviri February 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    Biti as an MP was among those who were complaining that their pecks were very low compared to their South African counterparts yet he is now comparing teachers’ salaries with those of Zambians.Why not compare them with those of South Africa as well.Sheer hypocrisy on the minister’s part.Its a shame that we have such kind of leaders.

  14. Yaya February 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    minister itai zvamunoita muchiconsider kwese and i mean kwese!

  15. Tshine February 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    This is embarassing coz civil servants’ wages always become a sacrificial lamb 2 save a disfunctional government, why? It is a well calculated lie that zimbabwean civil servants are earning more as compared 2 others in subsahara. In SA for example a teacher earns more than 1600 US dollars.The problem we have in Zimbabwe is that politics is destroying the economy of our country. Unless political power is granted a new investor friendly political party, the civil service is going 2 collapse due 2 low salaries. Surely 33 years in power is enough 4 someone in his right senses 2 think of quits nd leave.

    • Wit February 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

      Kunyepa vanohora R9 000 wc is $1 000

  16. Nyarwadza February 1, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    So Biti’s MDC doesnot want to pay deserving salaries to civil servants? How much is Biti getting? It is hgh time civil servants started boycotting. Teachers, etc should now start the war. Lets fight MDC, Biti and Matibenga. Lets fight for what justifiably belongs to us civil servants. Time irikungofamba tichidya nhoko dzezvironda. Biti akatinyima mari yatakashandira ye Census. Tosvika riini takangotarisira? Lets vote Biti out in the coming elections. Ndatenda.

  17. Civil servant February 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Hatisi mazambians mbiti,idya wega netimhu yako itawo saBecks asingatambiri ari kupa kucharity,toziva muvocab yako civil servant aimo

  18. People Power February 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    @Ngazvirehwe—-. Good observation. I have said it before that this Biti man will cost Chemabhebhi some votes. Lucia also. How come he wants to compare evil servants salaries to Zambia, but MPssalaries he wants to compare to South Africa How about the bloatted parliament and senate.
    OToti here kugocha kunoda kwaamai. Kana kuti George Owell was a genius out of this world.Wakaita Finance Minister riini? Why do you continue to pay millions to Fort Hare Univesity etc with taxpayers money for a private scholarship programme? When our own local universities are in need of only a few hundreds of thousands. Why do you continue to pay the ghost workers?. Mbiti unoda kuchenjera nhema. I have never trusted your manouvers. You are too ambitious!! Snake in the grass!!!

  19. joppa February 1, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    8iti its not about civil servants wage bill. Its about revenue collection which is not up to scratch. And you want us to vote for you. Can you imagine comparing us to Zambia, why not botswana, or south africa. I used to admire you but honestly you dont have the people at heart. Thats why you freezed posts in the healthy sector coz you dont care. Maybe you were quoted out of context again.

  20. cde kereke February 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    ndiyani achada kuvhotera benzi rakaita sabiti nemdc yavo ivovasina basa nevashandi. Chavanongoda kusara nemari yakawanda vokwira ndege vachindoidya nekutengerana manew release emota nemari yehurume. Biti you fail budget you must go. Maivonazve mdc yenyu zvoyotiitira.

    • Mataya February 2, 2013 at 6:32 am #

      Ndimi zvipoko zvirikutaurwa

  21. zimbabwean February 1, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Its very wrong to compare us with Zambians.As Zimbabweans we are unique, what difines us is the way we view and value life. Why should we not be guided by our own definations and morals?.

    The problem we have is, we have lost our founding values and we treasure politics more than our people. All our principles are very much aware of the problem we have but, because they value power more than lives of zimbabweans, they would rather have the masses suffer if it means to protect their kingdoms.

    Why, why and why? do we find it hard to purge the civil servants payroll. Is it sacred?
    And you zimbabwean where are your morals when you collect a salary which you never worked for? thieves.
    Biti does not own civil servants neither is he their employer. There is nothing he can do as long as our principles take the initiative.

    We are sick sick sick of this civil servants issue.

  22. Tshine February 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    @Wit. U are xposing ur poor knowledge abt the salary levels in the department of education of SA. That R9000 is the salary for a holder of a high school matriculant temp educator. Qualified educators after pension nd other deductions take home on average R12000. Degreed teachers get R17000 nd the salary scales slides up with years of xperience. This is no where near the wages given 2 teachers in Zim yet word has it that the little below poverty datum line Zim evil serpants are given has to b cut down.This is unacceptable. Those in power must feel for others nd learn 2 share the enormous wealth they are looting nd keeping 2 themselves. On the other hand there is really nothing Biti can do coz the money he is supposed 2 budget is in the pockets of bigwigs who even make the situation worse by chasing investors away.

  23. Tsunanai February 1, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    The Gvt should seriously consider reducing the work force. Which work are they that require such a population. People end up doing their own things because they do not have anything to do.

    I have notice most Gvt employees are very old, vana tinofira pano, they must now go and bring young blood which energetic & innovative. The old madhalas & mbuyas are just a spend force and must be given packages. Five can be replace by one young innovative person.

  24. Mthwakazi Ndizvo February 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    Try Welshman. RG failed. MDC T is failing. I rest my case.

  25. chicks February 1, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Whatever happens this coming election guys lets strive to have one political party in gvt.This mixture is trick and conducive for blame game amongst ministers.As for wage bill-ALL MILITIAS are still on payroll as we speak right now.I know quite a number.My friend who works for the Youth Ministry in Harare straight from UZ asimba kunge dafi nemari dzekuba.I asked him once and he said he is still able to collect money for all the militias who went to outside cntries such as SA through fictiously created accounts.Another friend of mine paid and finished for his degree at a university using gvt money despite the fact that he was never at wrk.All he did was to conive with a headmaster in the rural school and his contract was renewed for all the four years he spent at college by the headmaster and they shared the money on a monthly basis.SSB guys are too sleepy to discover anything sinister about these payments.In Zimbabwe there are too many loopholes in the gvt financial sector which can be manipulated to make someone rich overnight pasina kunhonga diamond.Chimwe chanetsa its 365 days recruitment policy yemapurisa which is not commensurate nemari iripo.Everyday police officers are trained at Morris Depot kuti mari yekuvapa inobvepi no one knows.Today in Zim police civilian -ratio is 1:1-just look an direction in town you will see a police officer achangopinda basa.Whatever can be said Zim is destined for disaster.The top guys in gvt ndimi mauraya nyika.

  26. Hung we February 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    Cde Nyaya haisiri yaBiti but the predecessors, they planted each other in the name of protecting each other now Biti has to take over the mess. Ple should account for their jobs and justify their presence on those roles. If you go to the passport office or I’d unochema iwe. You’re referred to more than 5 offices and most cases, just for a simple task, kungonamira picture chete. Do you a separate of for that? Then you say Biti. You need to be factual and not to take things personal, nyika haibudiriri.

    We’re in the situation we have today because some people want to be nice at the expense of the Gvt. Let’s get together and rebuild our run down beautiful country.

  27. Zim Patriot February 1, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    I could have never said it any better.The government needs to reduce the cabinet size and pay them according to the size of our economy.Our leaders need to know that being a government minister is not supposed to be a pathway to wealth, but rather as a way of serving the country.They are earning way too much and have this strange obsession with luxury cars, which is killing us.That said, 70% of government revenue going to civil servants salaries is shocking and something really needs to be done and fast.Small wonder there is hardly any development going on and our infrastructure really needs propping up.For once Zimbabwean people should put this country’s interests ahead of their own.

  28. tk February 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    We are wasting our time here.Nobody listens to us.

  29. silo February 1, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Onyarable Mbiti!!!

  30. Tawanda February 2, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    MDC’ s true colours are beginning to show now. These pipo have no concern for workers coz they are backed by foreign western capitalists who do not want a culture of rational salaries coz they have hope of coming to loot in Zim once Chemababie gets into power. Biti is simply the worst min of finance we have had since independent yet he is MDC’s best. This is the first time nurse’s posts have been frozen whilst the poor die in gvt hospitals due to staff shortages. MDC will destroy the country forever or the country will become unmanageable due to revolts. Wait and see

  31. nandoz February 2, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    its really sad mbiti taking the easiest way out, blame it on the teachers. Mhosva yavo ndeyei everyone blames the rabbi even for loosing elections. Be man enough and face the truth.

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