Civil servants our priority: Mthuli

Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube and African Development Bank Country Manager Damon Kitabire exchange a US$10 million grant for tax and accountability enhancement project (TAEP) document after signing in Harare yesterday. Picture :Justin Mutenda

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, has expressed confidence that today’s meeting between Government and its employees at the National Joint Negotiating Council will be positive.

The minister said this on the sidelines of the signing of the US$10,4 million grant protocol of agreement for the Tax and Accountability Enhancement Project in Harare yesterday.

“I expect a very positive outcome from the negotiations that are currently taking place between Government and civil servants. I am sure we will a have positive outcome so that we can continue to improve the wages for civil servants.

“We appreciate the work that they do; teachers, nurses and everyone else. We always stand ready as Government to listen, to support them as they support the country and support their families,” Prof Ncube added.

Asked whether Government was ready to meet the employees’ demands that include indexing of salaries to the interbank rate, Minister Ncube said: “Well, it is part of the negotiations as you know, but we will do everything within our means as Government. I am sure we can agree on something that all parties will be happy about and we are determined to do that.”

The Apex Council, a representative body of civil servants’ unions met on Tuesday and resolved to push Government to index their salaries to the interbank rate.

At the time, the least paid Government employee earned approximately $545.

Apex Council vice secretary Mr Gibson Mushangu said they were ready to present their demands at the meeting.

“The meeting is on and we are going to present our demands as agreed during the meeting we held early this week,” Mr Mushangu said.

Civil servants got an increment last August when the Government offered them a 76 percent cost of living adjustment which resulted in the least-paid worker taking home $1 023 per month.

According to the latest statistics by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency the Poverty Datum Line for an average family of five rose by 15,7 percent last November to $3 700 from the previous month’s $3 160.

The PDL represents the cost of a given standard of living that must be attained by an individual to not be deemed poor. – Herald