HomeOpinion & AnalysisGovt misled civil servants on US$75 allowances

Govt misled civil servants on US$75 allowances


editorial comment

GOVERNMENT’S treatment of its workers — particularly barring them from accessing their US$75 allowances in hard currency — merely demonstrates how it has perfected the art of frustrating not only its employees, but the country’s citizen in general.

It is quite shocking that it would go on to claim that if the civil servants access the allowances in hard currency, they would flood the parallel market. Well, the parallel market is already flooded thanks to the government’s economic policies that have failed to turn around the economy and have simply further impoverished ordinary people.

In any case, the parallel forex market has the true value of the foreign currency exchange rate which is being used as a baseline for shops to price their goods or services.

Government’s tinkering with the exchange rate has not helped matters. You cannot run the exchange rate and indeed the economy on a command basis. It will not work.

It appears that the government misled the civil servants after encouraging them to open nostro bank accounts to access the funds, and now in a spectacular turn around, the government is telling them they will not access had cash.

Perhaps the biggest shock is Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana’s claim that banks were the ones compelling civil servants to liquidate their allowances within the banks so they could mop up forex from “poor workers” — when it is the government itself that has given the directive according to Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.

The fact that the Apex Council said there was no clear explanation on the allowances they were supposed to get is itself proof that government is being elusive, thus the widespread confusion that has gripped the civil service. It is this kind of behaviour that has made citizens extremely suspicious of the government.

Typical of the government, it found an immediate scapegoat in the banks — which, understandably, are battling to meet the demand for the new cards from the 300 000 civil servants, some of whom do not yet have the nostro accounts to begin with. This was obviously going to be a logistic nightmare, and all these are things the government should have explained to its employees.

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