Zimbabwe’s Civil Service Commission has abolished 100 posts in the Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Ministry as part of Government’s staff rationalisation.
This affects redundant community development officers and ward co-ordinators in Harare and Bulawayo, most of whom have already received retrenchment letters.
Government is streamlining its 188 070-strong workforce as recommended by IMF’s Staff Monitored Programme which projects that halving the civil service wage bill will spur economic development.
In the first half of 2015, Treasury spent US$1,54 billion on labour, against revenue of US$1,718 billion. Monthly, US$120 million is spent on salaries, with the least-paid taking home about US$380.
Chief labour cost drivers are flagrant abuse of overtime allowances and leave days, salary fraud, idle manpower, role duplication and uncoordinated staff recruitment; according to the 2015 Civil Service Audit Report.
Last month, the Foreign Affairs Ministry led the way, retrenching officials and freezing posts in Zimbabwe’s 42 foreign missions. Women’s Affairs Minister Nyasha Chikwinya told The Sunday Mail that her ministry and the Civil Service Commission discussed streamlining two weeks ago, adding that authorities will arrange project start-ups for retrenchees.
“We had a situation where some of our officers who were supposed to educate women on gender issues and empowerment programmes did not have the necessary skills. “Those with skills will likely be re-deployed and those without, we will do our best to help them start income-generating projects,” she said.
A retrenchee told The Sunday Mail, “When I received the letter, I was told I would be transferred to another ministry when a vacancy arises. However, I think it was just a polite way of saying I was no longer needed in the service because my post was abolished.”
Trade and economics scholar, Dr Gift Mugano implored Government to balance staff rationalisation and service delivery. “Of course, those who are doing nothing must go, but we need to avoid destroying some of the institutions that assist in service delivery. Right now, if a teacher is on vacation, there is no replacement. What are you doing to the education sector?
“If there is shortage of manpower, say, at the Registrar-General’s Office, there will be long queues at the passport office. ‘‘Therefore, it’s important to be careful when freezing posts and retrenching staff.
“Let us all accept that our cake is small; we are focusing on sharing that small cake which is not enough,” said Dr Mugano.