CABINET yesterday slashed the salaries of parastatals and local authority bosses to a maximum of $6 000 a month.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Those in breach of the directive risk drastic measures against them, the Finance minister has ruled.
Addressing a Press conference in Harare last night, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said top-earning parastatal bosses would get $6 000 pending finalisation of appropriate remuneration structures.
“Accordingly and with immediate effect, Cabinet has decided, as an interim measure, that no chief executive officer of any state enterprise, parastatal or local authority should receive a total pay package (basic salary plus benefits) which is above $6 000 per month for those in job level one,” Chinamasa said.
Level one constitutes the highest earners in the new structure.
He said the new salaries should be immediately cascaded downwards in each organisation and the lowest paid employee should not earn below the poverty datum line.
“We are not saying everyone should get $6 000, we are saying in any organisation, the top-notch salary should be $6 000 and no one should be above that,” Chinamasa said.
The directive comes in the wake of revelations of “obscene” salaries and allowances being earned by parastatal bosses. Some are reportedly getting more than $500 000 per month plus allowances.
However, only Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Zesa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe bosses would be entitled to the $6 000 per month.
The lowest paid bosses at other parastatals would get $1 966 per month.
Chinamasa said that the government had learnt that in most cases, the parastatals and local authorities raised their utility and service charges in order to finance their high salaries.
He said there was strong suspicion that the parastatal bosses were likely to have evaded taxes by financing higher benefits relative to basic salaries.
Government also said that in the case of bonuses, the bosses would only get the 13th cheque based on performance and not as an automatic entitlement.
“Cabinet committee is seized with the task of conducting remuneration audits of parastatals. The Auditor and Comptroller-General will have to be brought on board and any work will be done under the auspices of the Auditor and Comptroller-General and it will come to the committee to take appropriate decisions,” Chinamasa said.
“Appropriate action will be made to recover the awards awarded illegally and there will be consequences naturally and those who did things immorally and unprocedurally, necessary action has to be taken.”
Chinamasa could, however, not give a timeline to the exercise, adding that the problem started with the migration from the Zimbabwe dollar to the US dollar where people took the hyperinflationary environment mentality.
He said the government was not ruling out criminal charges against those involved, saying that might fall under the armpit of corruption.
Asked why it took five years for government to act, Chinamasa said: “There was too much quarrelling in the inclusive government and we could not focus our energy on anything.”