Cash strapped Zim govt likely to lay off soldiers, police
21 December 2015, 15:28
Abuja - The Zimbabwean could soon be retrenching thousands of police officers and soldiers in an effort to decrease the wage bill within the country's civil service, NewsDay reports.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa made the announcement this week, saying the rationalisation exercise will extend to the army and police stations in order to ascertain the precise number of members employed by the service.
With an estimated 40 000 soldiers and 55 000 police officers operating within the country's civil service, Chinamasa has not yet revealed the number of personnel that will be affected by the exercise.
Following the unfortunate announcement, Chinamasa was lambasted for categorizing the exercise as rationalisation instead of calling it a retrenchment programme.
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, MDC legislator for Proportional Representation, said Chinamasa was attempting to be "politically correct" by refraining from saying that the government was readying itself to retrench civil servants.
During his speech, Chinamasa disclosed that retrenchments would save the Zimbabwean government $14.2 million monthly and $170.4 million each year.
According to New Zimbabwe, a previous attempt to reduce the cash-strapped country's wage bill by removing bonuses from civil servants earlier this year proved futile, as President Robert Mugabe denounced Chinamasa's plans, saying that he was not consulted on the matter.
In what seems like a preemptive measure, government has since put a freeze on civil service employment.
The call comes after a failure on government's part to pay pensioners timeously, resulting in a decision to reintroduce employee pension contributions at a rate of 7.5%, implemented from December 1 of this year.