By Dumisani Nyoni
Bulawayo, September 09, 2016 – SOME civil servants have vowed to resist the decision by government to suspend their 2016 bonus payments and the taxing of their allowances.
In his Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review statement on Thursday, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa proposed a raft of cost-cutting measures aimed at trimming government’s giant expenditure.
Proposed measures include salary cuts on salaries for senior government officials, among them ministers, ostensibly to reduce its unsustainable wage bill.
Chinamasa also said the government wage bill was now consuming 96,8% of the country’s total revenue.
However, civil servants who spoke to RadioVOP on Friday described the move as a “joke” and vowed to resist it from the word go.
“It’s a reflection of high rate of insensitivity of this government. We will stand up and resist this decision,” said Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Raymond Majongwe.
“We were hoping that maybe Chinamasa was going to say I will give you half of your bonuses, not what he has done. As far as we are concerned this government has failed. In fact it’s criminal. How do you tax the overtaxed? Chinamasa and his government are just looking for trouble.”
Majongwe said civil servants, especially teachers, were being treated like slaves in their own country.
He said they were always being victimised for no apparent reasons.
This is the second time Chinamasa has proposed cancelling bonus payments for civil servants.
When he tried this last year, Chinamasa’s decision was reversed by President Mugabe during the 2015 Independence Day celebrations, where he insinuated that bonuses were a right.
Chinamasa has also proposed to tax civil servants’ allowances with effect from next month using a progressive tax structure.
“Taxation of civil servants’ allowances will also bring equity, as similar allowances and benefits earned in the private sector are currently taxed. This is subject to engagement with respective unions,” Chinamasa said.
Civil servants who spoke to RadioVOP on condition of anonymity said the government was treating the symptoms not the actual problem.
They said Mugabe’s cabinet was too big and unsustainable.
“In the first place, there is no need to have deputy ministers because we have permanent secretaries. This is simple duplication of duties. Also there is no need to have senators yet we have councillors and legislators. Mugabe should be sincere and do the right thing. He should reduce his bloated cabinet rather than suffocating civil servants,” one civil servant said.