Friday, 8 May 2015

GOVERNMENT makes moves to do away with ghost workers.

GOVERNMENT is making moves to do away with ghost workers in its institutions in order to release more resources towards critical functions.This comes as government has just finished a head count in schools and other institutions where counters where demanding explanation of any absentees.

The head count was undertaken by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in collaboration with the Finance Ministry.

Government has tasked the Ministry of Finance to coordinate efforts to reduce the wage bill, chewing over 80 percent of the budget.

To get started, a head count of personnel and an assessment of their duties has just been finalised as part of efforts to trim the civil service and lower its wage bill to sustainable levels.
Minister without Finance Patrick Chinamasa
Government employs over 550 000 employees of which ghost workers are said to constitute a sizeable chunk of that figure.

The civil service doubled under unclear circumstances from 315 000 in 2009 to 554 000 in 2015.

Thousands were recruited in security-related services, including the cryptically titled ‘youth service officers’.

The issue of ghost workers has dogged the civil service since 2008 with the abnormally large numbers draining the fiscus monthly. The audit, whose results were supposed to be out mid-April are now expected anytime soon.

While addressing the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service recently, CSC chairman Mariyawanda Nzuwa said there was an unprecedented duplication of roles in the civil service hence the audit.

“It is regrettable but necessary that commission does determine portfolios of government. Yes we agree that there is duplication of roles, we are aware of it in particular in the ministries of youth, women and agriculture,” he said.

The Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment has a maximum of five youth officers in a ward, while the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development employs an extension officer, crop officer, livestock officer and veterinary officer all in a given ward.

It is highly likely that a number of them will also lose their jobs.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has hinted that the wage bill will be reduced in line with the revenue collections.

Chinamasa is currently exploring ways of amending labour laws to make them flexible when companies want to retrench personnel.

There is already an air of uneasiness among many civil servants because no one really knows the criteria which will be used to trim the service as the CSC has chosen to remain mum over the issue.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has dismissed the on-going audit as a sheer waste of resources as “the government knows where ghost workers emanated from”.

“The exercise by the Civil Service Commission at our schools does not inspire us at all. This audit comes on the heels of another one conducted during the days of the inclusive government whose results remain hidden in government files,” said PTUZ in a statement. Financial Gazette
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