Cabinet Okays Assets Disclosure . . . Civil Service to Be Depoliticised

In a first for public administration in the country, Cabinet has approved values and principles of a framework that will see public servants declare assets to ensure accountability.

Additionally, a code of conduct will be adopted in the civil service, while Government workers will have to observe political neutrality in terms of the Constitution.

These reforms are part of a raft of measures by President Mnangagwa’s administration, with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) recognising that the civil service reform agenda will ensure that operations of ministries, and their departments and agencies are underpinned by a new culture blueprint that exhibits higher levels of professionalism, ethics, accountability and performance.

Under the TSP, reforms at public enterprises are set to ensure, inter alia, de-politicisation of Government and entities’ governance relationships.

And yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, in her post-Cabinet briefing, announced that Cabinet had also approved principles for the Public Service Amendment Act which seeks, among other issues, to align conditions of service for civil service Commissioners to the Constitution.

The amendments also seek to change the name of the Public Service Commission to the Civil Service Commission; provide that staff of the Civil Service Commission will follow processes through the National Joint Negotiating Forum (NJNC) before engaging in collective job action; provide mechanisms for the implementation of collective bargaining rights and provide for the political neutrality of the civil service.

Meanwhile, Cabinet yesterday expressed concern over the tendency by some businesses to increase wantonly prices of commodities citing movements in the exchange rate.

The correct approach, Cabinet pointed out, was to predicate price increases on inflation trends.

Said Minister Mutsvangwa: “A lot of our industry suppliers of goods and services in the country are raising prices because of the exchange rate on the market which is not the right way to do it. The correct approach is to ground price increases on inflation trends not the exchange rate.”

This comes as Cabinet also approved principles for the Securities and Exchange Amendment Bill which seeks to address deficiencies and align the legislation with market developments and international best practice.

The proposed amendments seeks to assist investors in making decisions after being provided with full, accurate and timely disclosure of financial results, risk and other related information.

“The amendments are also aimed at ensuring fair and equitable treatment of holders of securities and that financial statements be in line with international accounting standards,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.

“(They are also aimed at) expanding the scope of regulation of capital markets to cover issuers of securities; eliminating regulatory arbitrage in the capital markets sector; introducing civil penalties for contravention of the Act to enhance the Securities and Exchange Commission SECZ) powers in markets; and providing for cooperation and sharing of information with both local and foreign regulators.”

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