GOVERNMENT has paid the last tranche of civil servants’ 2016 bonuses four months before the end of another year, when it is expected to honour the same obligation.
President Robert Mugabe’s administration has been struggling with a debilitating economic crisis, which has resulted in its failure to honour its obligations to workers, including timeous payment of salaries, forcing it to stagger bonus payments.
“The rest of the civil service has been paid now. The money has reflected on our payslips and will be available in banks according to dates shown on August 2,” a source said.
Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira said the government had met all dates as agreed.
“I do not have everything with me here, but our principle has been that we meet all agreed dates on which specific groups are supposed to be paid,” she said.
Apex Council chairperson, Cecilia Alexander said she would need to check, but confirmed the government had committed to paying bonuses for the rest of the civil service in August.
“If they have paid, that would be a good thing. We were made to understand that the government would pay the remaining workers’ bonuses next month. I will cross-check with authorities,” she said.
While Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa might have heaved a sigh of relief after accomplishing what seemed a herculean task, teachers’ representatives immediately called on the government to begin planning for this year’s 13th cheque.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association spokesperson, Richard Gundani said: “While we are grateful that the government has managed to honour its obligations for last year, we would not want a repeat of the same situation going forward. Our call to government is that authorities should begin plans to make sure this year’s bonuses are paid on time.
“We do not want another fire-fighting situation and proper forward planning is key. It is important that the government opens up to stakeholders and avoids situations such as we have now.”
Twice in the last two years, Chinamasa burnt his fingers after proposing that the government suspends paying bonuses to civil servants given the economic problems the country was facing and the constricted fiscal space.
But Mugabe rejected the proposal, declaring the annual bonuses a right for government workers and Chinamasa was forced to “find the money.”
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