HARARE, December 9 (The Source) – Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa says government has already begun to restructure the country’s civil service in an exercise expected to half the public sector wage bill by 2020.
This year public sector employment costs are seen at $3,14 billion from a budget envelope of $4,1 billion — about 91 percent — but will drop by $140 million to $3 billion, 73 percent of the 2017 budget.
Speaking at a meeting with business to discuss the 2017 budget on Friday, Chinamasa said the need to reduce salaries, benefits and the work force in parastatals was more than glaring.
“We have already started the process (restructuring) but it may seem slow to some of you because you are expecting a Big Bang….change is always difficult but I am glad that the whole government system is now on the same page…they fully acknowledge what needs to be done,” he said.
“It may may take us up to 2019-2020 by then I am confident we should have been able to reduce the wage bill to something like 50 to 55 percent of total expenditure. If we proceed on the bases at which we are already proceeding, we can do it.”
President Robert Mugabe said in his State of the Nation address that the government had adopted an audit report of the civil service which, among other reforms, recommends centralizing recruitment, the abolition of redundant and vacant non-critical posts and merging some departments.
It appears to be a tacit acceptance of reforms suggested by Chinamasa in his mid-term policy when he proposed to freeze public sector wages, and bonuses for two years as well as cut the civil service by 25,000.