Leroy Dzenga, Takudzwa Chihambakwe
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube has dismissed social media reports, that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the Zimbabwean government should not increase salaries for its workers.
Speaking after a post-cabinet briefing session on Tuesday evening, Professor Ncube said the reports were misinterpreted by the media.
“The IMF never said we should not increase salaries,” said Minister Ncube.
“Instead, the IMF highlighted that we should increase salaries based on what we generate from our taxes. They suggested that we must not borrow to pay salaries.”
Asked on what the lowest paid civil servant will be taking home after news broke on Monday that government was working on a new package for its workers, the minister declined to comment.
The confusion regarding the IMF position on salaries had come after media reports that quoted IMF country representative, Patrick Iman as warning Government against increasing its wage bill.
“The Government wage bill is now on a sustainable footing,” said Iman.
He added, “Looking ahead, it is crucial that public wage growth be aligned with economic growth and government revenue.”
That message was not taken lightly by civil servants who will resume salary negotiations with Government soon.
The key negotiator in the forthcoming dialogue, Apex Council Secretary General David Dzatsunga, says the IMF should not interfere with their salary negotiations with government.
“Our salary has been eroded. What we want from the government is not a salary increase, but a restoration of our salaries to the value they used to have in October 2018. Anyone who is against this idea is not for the workers and is speaking out of sync with reality,” added Dzatsunga.
Galloping inflation has made life difficult for most public workers, who earn salaries that are below the poverty datum line.