Budget delay hits bonuses

HARARE - As thousands of workers look forward to their 13th cheque, confusion now reigns over how it will be paid out after government postponed its  annual budget which usually gives direction to employers through tax-free threshold announcements.

The national budget, traditionally delivered in November, has been  moved to a later date after Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said he  required more time to craft the document.

The tax-free threshold for bonuses is traditionally announced during the national budget, which also outlines next year’s spending plan.

“It’s obvious this delay is going to have a negative impact on the  workers and the economy as it causes further uncertainty,” Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president George Nkiwane said.

“Although the  workers would get their bonuses, they would be taxed in retrospect yet some form of relief could have been offered to them through the budget.”

He said his organisation will be engaging its membership on what  action to take over the delay.

“As you know, these are policy issues, but as the ZCTU, we will be  meeting over the development that we only got to know through the press and deliberate on the action to be taken,” he said.

Labour economist Godfrey Kanyenze said employers would be forced to find a solution on how to come up with their employees’ 13th cheques.

“Zimbabwe has lived on a tight rope before, where people had to improvise and I think employers will have to come up FROM P1

with a solution  on how to reward their employees without the guidance of the budget,” he said.

“We can extrapolate from the past that life has to go on and the struggle will continue.”

He said government would however, struggle to own up its pledge to give its more than 250 000-strong civil service, bonuses.

“They really have to find ways of delivering on the promises they made  to the civil servants or there would be grave consequences,” the  economist warned.

Kanyenze said like most of its election promises, the Zanu PF-led government will have to come up with solutions to meet its end of the bargain, after  promising better working conditions for employees.

“I think looking at the current situation; they would struggle to  raise the funds and would have to stagger the pay-outs as they have to live up to their promise.

“Like they say, a promise is a credit and  civil servants are waiting to get what they have been promised come  payday,” he said.

The labour economist said lack of income streams was providing a  challenge for the new government.

“We already knew the fiscal situation was getting tighter because of  weakening global metal prices, negatively affecting the growth of the economy.

“While expectations were higher after the elections, the revenue base has become tighter.

“As you know, 70 percent of government  expenditure goes to civil service salaries,” he said.

Economist Christopher Mugaga said bonus payments to civil servants  will negatively impact on the economy.

“Government will definitely pay them but the implications will be  adverse, with no funds left for development,” Mugaga said.

He said bonuses should not be a priority for government as it had more  pressing issues to address to keep the economy running.

“It should not be a priority however, government can still meet bonus  pressures of civil servants hence crowding out funds for capital  investment projects,” the economist said.

“Confidence building measures, employment creation, addressing the  liquidity crunch and addressing the domestic debt should be its priority,” he said.

Currently, government is engaging civil servants in salary negotiations  that are likely to balloon its already unsustainable wage bill which gobbled more than $2 billion last year.

The government employees are demanding a minimum salary of $540 a  month and 30 percent of basic salary as rural allowance.

They are also proposing a housing allowance of $160, transport  allowance of $63 for the least-paid employee and land for residential stands.

The lowest-paid government worker’s salary is pegged at $297 per month.

Efforts to get a comment from Chinamasa were fruitless but the Treasury boss recently indicated that government will pull out all the  stops to ensure that civil servants get their bonuses.

Comments (13)

Unlike the Zim dollar which could be printed in gazillions, the US$ has to be earned and this is where people are going to finally realise Mugabe does not have a clue on how to run a country. If he had half the brains or intelligence attributed to him Zim's GDP would be more than double what it is today. Makavhota and there is not much you can do now, I feel sorry for the Civil Servants.

Zvichapera - 8 November 2013

Inclusive govmnt, chiskukuviri chaiva nani, zvinhu zvohooma wena, aya ma one wangu

mucivil sevhandi - 8 November 2013

The truth is that there is no money plus surface/alluvial diamonds have dried up and all the companies looting diamonds have NO Capital, NO experties to determine how many diamonds could be underground, NIKUV, NIKUV varume vaye vopfumbura zvando ngepadonyangara, chitongai tione handiti makawhina resoundlingly. Use NIkuv to sort out the economy, maiti zvinogumapi, zvitoto zveZanu-Pfumvu.

L. M. Makoni Nyati - 8 November 2013

For the past 5 years the blame was specifically on Biti. Now Biti and company are not in government ZANU PF must deliver as they promised. We don't want exercuses. Hamunyari! Iyezvino nyaya yamasimirembwa yanyararwa because mikweshwa yemuhurumende yakananzvavo pa$6 million. truly the economy can not be rigged. Tongai tione

sabhuku vharazipi - 8 November 2013

This goes to show that the Government will never learn, if it is correct to say that they paid 10 million for rigging elections and they want to buy cars for the MP then the Civil Servants should get what belongs to them, the Bonus. It would have been acceptable if the government does not buy new cars for MP, does not give bonus to Evil servants and channel all the resources to the food shortages and help the so called farmers to purchase the imputs. I think a proper land and mines audits are more than required so that we can at least get both taxes and food.

Asekuru - 8 November 2013

ACCA video lectures on DVD 0772104011

Bambo - 8 November 2013

It never rains for civil servants. But funds to buy luxury cars for MPs, Ministers and their Deputies and other cronies can never be a problem. Can be bought as and when wanted. What a sarcastic state of affairs when it comes to issues of civil service employs. May be too docile, workers activism diluted by cheap political proganda

Tototo - 8 November 2013

Rig the economy, madzvinyu e Zanu. Where is Nikuv?

Haruna - 8 November 2013

Zim c own Building Information Centre www.mybuildlink.com

builder - 8 November 2013

Could u not have waited with yo comments until the govt fails to pay the bonuses. Its as if yo wish is for the govt to fail to pay the bonuses & the salary increments so that u can shout ' see we told u they cannot rig the economy' What proof do u have to show us that yo mdc was going to bring economic glory to this country.

Machekera - 9 November 2013

Phone call from Zim Min of Finance: ''Hello there, is that Nikuv? OK I am making a follow up on that other package you were working on, ..... yes the USA$ printing machine, ..... remember we stated that we require it by 31 October 2013, .... now we are badly off schedule for the November 2013 civil service salaries. Zhiang Tse Tung is also delayed from Dubai with the diamond loot funds. .........Do something please Rabi Ahmanassi''

McAaron - 14 November 2013

To All Civil Servants Please plan your festive season carefully. You are not going to get your 13th cheque this year. Maybe in January or February 2014. Government has already paid bonuses for uniformed forces(solders) who were at the forefront during the rigging of elections so its now payback time for ZANU-PF. uSELESS SOLDERS are being rewarded for doing nothing, absolutely nothing. They are being paid for protecting ZANU-PF thugs and nothing else. Those without passports please make an initiative today. People must be prepared to run away from a sinking ship.

Gandanga - 14 November 2013

zimbos lets pray for chinamasa to get the money coz civil sevants are our parents

mafia - 14 November 2013

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