THE Public Service Commission owes $101 million in pension arrears and $95 million to the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) due to delays in the releasing of money by Treasury.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Proportional Representation MP Emma Ncube (Zanu PF) presented a report of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service in the National Assembly on the 2019 National Budget, where she highlighted how pension arrears were affecting the lives of pensioners.
“It is disturbing that the Public Service Commission (PSC) is saddled with pension arrears of $101 million, given that all pensioners should receive their benefits as and when they become due,” the Public Service and Social Welfare Committee report said.
“The accumulation of arrears is tantamount to depriving former workers who dedicated their lives to serving the government because payment of pensions, like salaries, is more contractual and hence should be honoured.”
Ncube said in the current budget, the amount set aside for pensions is less than that of the pension Bill, which will further increase the arrears.
The Public Service Portfolio Committee also said the $25 million allocation to Beam should be increased in order to avoid a situation where children drop out of school.
“The budget failed to allocate resources towards clearance of arrears of the Beam programme. The total arrears stand at $95 million, an amount greater than the total allocation to the Public Service and Social Welfare ministry for the 2019 calendar year, which was $81,2 million,” the committee said.
“The implication of the arrears is that some students might be forced to drop out of school, exposing them to higher risk of violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect.
On the other hand, schools which are owed school fees will not be able to buy consumables for students, hence compromising effective education.”
Children in difficult circumstances were also given a very lean budget of $1 million when $30 million was needed to support them.
“These resources are mainly meant for orphans, vulnerable children, children in sexual exploitation, among others. Given the demographics of the country, where children are a greater proportion of the population, the allocated resources will have less impact in resolving challenges of children in difficult situations,” the committee said.
The country was also said to be experiencing a shortage of around 20 000 teachers, hence the need for government to hire the unemployed qualified teachers to fill in vacancies at schools.