FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday disclosed to Senate he had no idea how he was going to cut the wage bill gobbling 85% of the country’s National Budget.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
His disclosure came as Senate passed the Finance No. 3 Bill and the Appropriation 2015 Bill to do with the National Budget. Chinamasa appealed to all Zimbabweans to help him with ideas on how to solve the problem which has left the government will little revenue to meet other pressing needs of the country.
“Cutting down the wage bill is going to be a process, but currently I do not have ideas on how we can tackle it, but I am provoking debate on the issue,” Chinamasa said.
“In the first instance we may need to do an audit of how many people are employed in the civil service, their productivity, their qualifications, what they are supposed to do — but obviously that process will take a long time.”
Chinamasa said he had asked the World Bank for ideas on how to cut the wage bill, but allegedly they also did not have any.
“The establishment in the civil service is huge and the bulk of
140 000 are teachers. I would not want to touch this sector. We want to maintain our position as a leader in literacy and education. Human capital is the biggest resource in Zimbabwe and not diamonds or gold,” he said.
Senator Chief Chisunga said Chinamasa should consider revising the workforce. He said there were some ministries like Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment that were allegedly employing people without the requisite five “O” levels.
“We should consider retiring some of the civil servants. This would help us save money which we can use to allocate to those ministries that are underfunded,” Chief Chiduku said.
Meanwhile, Chinamasa said his ministry was going to consider taking items like blankets and clothes forfeited at border posts as smuggled goods and dish them out to old people and the impoverished.
This was after Matabeleland South senator Sithembile Mlotshwa had criticised government for failing to allocate adequate funds to the social services department.
“Currently we have a lot of forfeited blankets and goods that were being smuggled. I think we should take some of those goods and put them towards meeting welfare issues,” Chinamasa said.
Senators also questioned why Chinamasa allocated a paltry
$19 million to Parliament saying they were tired of being embarrassed at hotels where they were kicked out for failure to pay bills.
“Some of the expenditure from the Seventh Parliament was not paid and MPs should not look like beggars,” said Harare Metropolitan senator James Makore.
Chinamasa said he had approached developing partners to fund some of the Parliament projects.