Chinamasa must do more

HARARE - Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s move to engage the World Bank on plans to audit the civil service is indeed a welcome development and should be implemented with the seriousness it deserves.

The Treasury boss now needs to take the bull by the horns and ensure that government be honest with itself if a lasting solution to this muddle is to be found.

It is already an open secret that government has for a long time been sitting on its laurels in weeding out ghost workers in order to reduce its wage bill.

What is shocking is government’s admission that 81 percent of the hopeless $4,1 billion 2015 National Budget constitutes recurrent expenditure, particularly civil servants’ wages.

It is indeed prudent for the Treasury boss to take cautious and decisive action.

Although in the short term, Treasury may bleed due to massive retrenchment costs, in the long run the exercise has positive far-reaching cost implications.

As Chinamasa put it, tax payers’ money is paying people to sit in their offices and not to undertake their operations and this is a major issue and challenge that has to be addressed.

There is no second guessing on what government needs to do.

It should urgently implement the exercise by picking itself up from the ill-fated human capital audit during  the government of national unity (GNU) where there were revelations that one ministry took on board 13 000 employees in a single day.

This took centre stage while vital sectors such as health and education suffered human resource deficits.

Secondly, the Zanu PF-led government must weed out all the workers who were clandestinely put on its payroll to enhance electoral chances prior to last year’s harmonised elections as an initial step to reduce its debilitating wage bill.

There is no time for dithering on cutting the civil service wage bill as it has long-term economic benefits for the nation.

What Zimbabwe needs at the moment is a leaner, committed and more efficient civil service which merits better salaries.

More pragmatic steps need to be taken before the current recession tilts and tips into a depression.

Zimbabwe now needs robust economic policies to be implemented not the election style promises which only exist in Utopia.

The nonsense that this Zanu PF government can create two million jobs is just a blue lie meant to win over votes.

And for Chinamasa to achieve anything, he must also learn to engage the business community and get to understand what needs to be done to get the economy ticking again.

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