Zvamaida Murwira in VICTORIA FALLS
Civil servants will get their bonus this month and Treasury has already started looking for the money, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said. In an interview on the sidelines of a pre-budget seminar being attended by MPs, the minister said although Government had limited fiscal space, it would, however, honour payment of bonus for civil servants.
“We are working towards payment of the 13th cheque to be paid possibly at the end of November. We will honour it (payment of bonus),” said Minister Chinamasa.
Asked about progress on salary adjustments of civil servants, he said another different Government arm was seized with that and they were waiting to hear what they would agree upon.
“There are negotiations going on. I don’t know how far they have gone. There are people doing that and you can ask them,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Negotiations of salary adjustments for civil servants have been stalled as trade unions are still haggling on people to second to the National Joint Negotiation Council.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the National Assembly, Cde Jacob Mudenda implored legislators to closely scrutinise the national budget before passing it. Officially opening the pre-budget seminar yesterday, Cde Mudenda said in terms of the Public Finance Management Act, the budget could be passed as late as January next year, thus giving them enough time to analyse it.
“Therefore a budget can be passed by Parliament between December and the end of January of the coming financial year, a period of almost 60 days. I believe this offers us sufficient time to interrogate the budget and we must make the best out of the time availed to us by statutes,” he said.
Cde Mudenda said the reform process that was led by former Speaker of Parliament, Cde Cyril Ndebele in 1999 empowered Parliament to interrogate the national budget and not just rubber-stamp it.
“I therefore wish to reiterate that it cannot be the role of Parliament to ‘fiddle while Rome burns’, for indeed that is how the electorate would view us if we fiddle,” he said.
Yesterday’s consultative meetings were characterised by jeering of each other among legislators.
MDC-T MPs heckled at Minister Chinamasa when he said the budget performance figures he presented did not capture the background of sanctions crippling the economy.
At the beginning of the seminar, Cde Mudenda reprimanded some legislators for coming to the workshop late, saying they were shortchanging the electorate. Several Ministers, captains of industry and bankers are expected to deliver speeches during the three-day workshop.