The central bank is reeling from under-funding, failure to service debts and lack of support from the inclusive government. Since they stopped printing money in favour of using hard currency, the central bank has virtually been grounded to its knees and is failing to pay institutions like the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and other service providers.
As a result, the central bank has resolved to cut down the 2000 workers they have to about 500 . This is the number of workers RBZ governor Gideon Gono found at the institution when he took over in 2003.
A senior RBZ official confirmed to Radio VOP on Monday evening that the situation had reached alarming levels at the once high flying institution and workers were now bracing themselves to be laid off when the bank completes working out attractive retrenchments packages.
The bank has a salary bill in excess of US$400 000 yet it is receiving nothing from treasury and is not generating any income.
“As I am speaking, we are at work trying to figure where we can get the huge amounts needed to retrench the 1500 people because that is the only way out of this crisis. Gono is now working full time to try and make sure that the retrenchment is smooth otherwise we will face more litigation.
“The quasi-fiscal activities the bank engaged in are coming back to haunt us. The bank is over staffed and we don’t know how we have been surviving. Workers are disgruntled because we are only getting US$150 a month.
“But the retrenchments will be good for the bank because imagine the amount of money the bank will save when 1500 people suddenly stop coming for work. It’s not about salaries alone but the use of telephones, internet and other daily needs. In any case people are overstaffed here,” said the employee.
After the economy was dollarised Gono was left with no option except to approach treasury for funding but because of the bad blood between him and Finance minister Tendai Biti no funding went through, resulting in the central bank struggling.
Last October the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the bank had continued to channel statutory reserves to finance quasi-fiscal projects, which rendered it incapable of backing up banks.
The IMF said between January and August last year, US$16,3 million from the bank reserves was used to finance non-core activities that included financing Air Zimbabwe, ministerial trips, paying presidential scholarships and financing diplomatic missions.
The IMF also revealed that the central bank accrued operating arrears in salaries, debts to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, pensions, communications and courier services.
Gono has always defended quasi-fiscal activities saying it was a way of fighting sanctions but his critics say the activities were responsible for the destruction of the economy.