PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has tasked his office to tighten governance oversight structures of salaries of local authorities, public enterprises and grant-aided institution bosses.
Report by Mernat Mafirakurewa
Mugabe’s move comes at a time there is public outcry over huge salaries and perks received by chefs at the expense of service delivery.
Presenting the 2014 National Budget last week, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the government was concerned by the extent to which employment costs crowd out the conduct of the core business of public enterprises, including local authorities and grant-aided institutions.
He said the unsustainable employment costs were due to huge salaries, allowances, and perks being paid to top management – contrary to the Corporate Governance Framework for State Enterprises and Parastatals over principles of affordability, and sustainability.
“In this regard, the Office of the President and Cabinet is spearheading the development of the guiding remuneration framework for all entities that make or are likely to make a charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund with effect from early 2014,” said Chinamasa.
“This framework will tighten governance oversight structures over remuneration, giving consideration to ability to pay, taking account of service delivery targets as well as rewarding corporate performance that is above targets.”
State-owned enterprises across the country have been underperforming, exerting pressure on the Treasury due to persistent demands for bailout.
Chinamasa said not only were these wild remunerations for executives funded by the struggling institutions, but were financed from commercial borrowings.
Workers at ZBC have gone for six months without salaries while the chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere pampered himself with $40 000 a month in salaries and allowances.
Muchechetere enjoyed other perks which included home entertainment of $3 000, housing allowance, $3 000, $2 500 for his security, unlimited local air travel, entertainment allowance, unlimited fuel allowance and wages for his domestic servants.
Premier Service Medical Aid Society chief executive officer, Cuthbert Dube’s monthly salary of $250 000 and his managing director, Farai Muchena’s $190 000 have also raised storm.
Zinwa employees have also gone for four months without salaries while alleging that management was awarding itself loans amounting to $300 000 to build houses and buy luxury cars.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has also called for the slashing of salaries for council managers saying the wage bill was consuming over 75% of the council collections, a development that he said was affecting service delivery by local authorities.