FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said the Government is currently the best payer among employers in the country, doing better than even the private sector.
Ncube insisted that the government was doing far much better than the majority of private sector players with its lowest-paid workers, among them the office orderly, now on a monthly salary of about $14 000.
“The lowest-paid civil servant right now is on $14 500. A teacher right now will be earning close to $19 000. And the lowest paid civil servant is actually an office orderly. We are way ahead of the private sector in general,” said Professor Ncube.
Unpacking the recently launched government’s economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy (NDS1), Professor Ncube also said under NDS1, the Government will adopt a different approach in its remuneration of civil servants to ensure that it gives its workers a sustainable and living wage.
He said under the Transitional Stabilisation Plan (TSP), priority appeared to be inclined towards sustaining budget surpluses.
Ncube also said the national budget surpluses were not the priority, but only a positive consequence of its significant efforts aimed at ensuring that the Government lives within its means and that it does not run unsustainable budget deficits that create problems in the future.
“We will not maintain budget surpluses; in fact it was never our target. Our target is to eliminate huge budget deficits or running small budget deficits. So, we will be running small budget deficits.
“And besides… if you run large budget deficits because of wages or whatever the reason is, how are you going to finance it? Where are you going to borrow from if you have got arrears clearance?
“In terms of local borrowings, in the presence of high inflation, which is what we have now, of course it will drop, which will be excellent, but you do not want to over borrow domestically either because you have to pay very high interest rates, that citizens have to pay up in future in the form of higher taxes,” he said.
During the period of the short term transitional stabilisation plan, the Government says it has managed to keep the budget almost balanced while current account deficits turned into surpluses.
Zimbabwe’s fiscal deficit, as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), declined from minus 10,5 percent in 2017 to a surplus in 2019 and with an almost balanced budget in 2020.
The budget surplus resources, the finance minister said, have been used to cover obligations arising from emergencies such as natural disasters and unforeseen pandemics such as Covid-19, social protection and development of key infrastructure like roads, bridges and dams. ■