Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
At least 13 000 people have been rendering service to Government but have not been captured on its pay system, creating an obligation of more than $84 million per year in salary arrears to the already cash-squeezed Treasury, aa Civil Service audit report has revealed.
The audit reveals that 96 percent of the number was found in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
“At least 12 392 persons were found to be rendering services but not on the payroll, implying a committed expenditure of $6 959 760 per month translating to $83 517 120 per annum. It has been observed that 96 percent (11 813) of these members are from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. This has the effect of distorting the payroll leaving the system open to abuse in the form of members being allowed to provide services without authority,” reads the report.
“Thereafter they will request for payment for services since there is a legal obligation for the State to pay for services provided which, in essence, amounts to committed expenditure on behalf of Government.”
The report said the Public Service Commission had put in place procedures and timelines for appointment and documents to be processed and submitted to the Salary Service Bureau as well as mechanisms to flush out irregular appointments.
“The Commission will identify and charge the members who failed in this exercise to process and submit appointment documents within the set timelines,” reads the report.
It was noted that at least 3 307 members who were on the payroll could not be accounted for amid revelations that some were already working in the Diaspora with some residing as far as Australia.
The audit also noted that the ministry deployed 1 000 classroom teachers to the provincial, district offices, clusters under BEST programmes, Better Schools Programme Zimbabwe, physical education programmes among others creating an unnecessary expenditure of $540 876 per month translating to $6,5 million annually in replacements.
Overstaffing through lower teacher people ratio, relief teachers stood at 5 588 creating an unnecessary expenditure of $2 794 000 per month which translated to $33 528 000 per year.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education did not put in place mechanisms to reduce the wage bill and failed to adhere to the stipulated teacher-pupil ratios in schools,” reads the report.
Another observation was that School Development Associations employed teachers without requisite qualifications, yet colleges were churning out educators and this resulted in headmasters and deputy headmasters not teaching.
“Heads, some deputy heads and teachers-in-charge were not teaching despite indications on paper that they had classes contrary to the provisions of the ministry’s circular Number 15 of 2006. Some claimed to be teaching guidance and counselling whilst they were not. They use guidance and counselling as a cover for not teaching,” the report reads.
The audit also noted that there were 121 agricultural extension workers deployed by the parent ministry in urban areas where there were no posts for such activities.
On tertiary institutions, it was noted some teacher training and technical colleges were teaching Ordinary and Advanced Level subjects under the guise of bridging courses with some even offering boarding facilities yet they were actually running normal secondary school lessons.
“It was further noted that the lecturers providing such services were also claiming part-time allowances from Government, incurring expenditure amounting to $161 544 per annum,” the report reads.
Government has been closing all leakages as part of its effort to reduce its salary bill.