Bonus denial denotes govt failure

HARARE - No other evidence that government is going through dire financial troubles is starker than its decision to suspend annual bonuses for civil servants for the next three years.

It is a landmark reality that exposes government’s failure to rein in on official profligacy and its incomprehensible disconnect between good financial husbandry and failure to live within its means yet pretending it can weather the financial storm by applying plaster-patch solutions.

And to scrape bonuses only three months into the new budget shows and suggests that this government is bankrupt of ideas.

One of the major reasons for the dire financial straits the country finds itself in is allowing an avoidable distension of the civil service through the creation of superfluous posts that do not add an iota of value to national economic good but satisfies political more than social needs.

Positions in the civil service have been created not because they add quality and value to the running of government departments but because those engaged were meant to boost electoral chances for the ruling party.

Otherwise, how else can the number of civil servants on the government payroll spike from 280 000 to 553 000 in a few years without a justifiable rise in the quality of services provided by the government departments and agencies?

During the Economic Adjustment Programme, one of the conditions for funding was a reduction of the estimated 280 000 civil servants then and many of them took the voluntary retirement packages on offer.

Yet, government has resorted to offering opportunities to retired army personnel as evidenced by their ubiquitous presence in most government departments. This distension of numbers out of political expediency can be a cause for the unprecedented demand on the fiscus.

At least Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had the courage  to finally admit that government no longer has the capacity to pay bonuses — and a living wage for that matter — to its employees who have waited patiently and expectantly for a salary hike promised when President Robert Mugabe was campaigning for an umpteenth term in office in 2013.

All along Zanu PF has been living a lie, bravely retailing the mantra that it can surmount problems of its own financial recklessness but over time, it has dawned on the ruling party and government that no matter how you dream about situations changing to your delusions, there is always the catch that dreams remain merely dreams.

Few people believe government’s implausible explanation that the main reason for denying civil servants annual bonuses is meant to create financial space to finance its economic blueprint ZimAsset.

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