Pay civil servants in US dollars: Muzorewa

Opposition United African National Council (UANC) leader Gwinyai Muzorewa has called on government to pay civil servants in United States dollars if they are to achieve President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030.

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA

UANC leader Gwinyai Muzorewa

In his New Year statement, Muzorewa, who is also a cleric, said civil servants were right in demanding salaries in foreign currency and that government should stop enforcing the 2% tax on electronic transactions on poor workers given the current economic crisis.

“The teachers, nurses and doctors are the lifeline of our nation. Their minimum salaries must not be less than $500 in genuine US dollars if they are to put food on the table and live just above the poverty datum line. The President’s target of creating a middle-class economy by 2030, will only happen if the nation’s professionals receive equitable salaries,” Muzorewa said.

“Currently, the Minister of Finance [Mthuli Ncube] is having to collect tax [2%] even from unemployed people, out of desperation. The government should pay all civil servants handsome salaries, then tax the middle-class, and not tax people who are below the poverty datum line.

“It is unethical to tax the poor, who are sending EcoCash to other poor people so that they may both survive. The ruling party must first provide a favourable economic environment.”

Government is currently underfire from civil servants, who are lobbying to get their salaries in foreign currency, resisting the real time gross settlement system to cushion themselves from the economic meltdown.

In December, junior doctors embarked on a strike, which has since crippled the health sector. Teachers are also threatening to down tools today if their demands for improved working conditions and salaries in US dollars are not met.

“As the biggest employer in Zimbabwe, the government ought to pay all civil servants equitable salaries and in US dollars, because the private sector is now demanding payment in US dollars. I hope that the private sector is paying their taxes in US dollars, not the bond notes,” Muzorewa added.

The cleric, who failed to contest in the last election after he could not secure a birth certificate in time, is trying to revive the UANC, which was led by the late Bishop Abel Muzorewa from the 1970s.

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