It is heartening to note that the government has honoured its pledge to pay the 2015 13th cheque to its suffering employees who had been holding on to the promise since last year after soldiers started receiving their money.
This was confirmed through Public Service Commission pay schedule dispatched to the various government departments and other key stakeholders. We commend the government for honouring its promise, as this will go a long way in boosting the morale of civil servants, who have been crying for succour.
The Zimbabwe National Army and Air Force of Zimbabwe were paid on February 15, while the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services will be paid tomorrow and the health sector on February 22. Those in the education sector will receive their bonuses on February 24 and the rest of the civil service on February 29. Pensioners and grant-aided institutions will be paid on March 9.
Although it has taken a long time for government to start making good its promise, the good thing is they have started delivering and, hopefully, this will inspire demotivated civil servants to start working.
The financially hamstrung government has been struggling to raise money for civil servants’ bonuses since last November, after initially being forced to stagger salaries for its workers, with teachers and some of the civil servants receiving their December salaries in January this year. We commend Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa for working tirelessly around the clock to ensure that the money was available.
This will also help ensure that the civil servants, some of whom had threatened to stage a crippling strike, will go back to their offices and commit themselves to their work. In its current state, the economy cannot afford an industrial action.
Given how government is strained, it is important to avoid making promises in future that may be difficult to fulfil, particularly in an unstable economic environment like Zimbabwe’s. The wage bill is already unsustainable, as Chinamasa has always said, and it may be wiser for government to try and live within its means to avoid a further economic implosion.