Auxilia Katongomara Bulawayo Bureau
GOVERNMENT is expected to scale up its cost-cutting measures with a five percent salary cut for ministers as well as biometric registration of all civil servants coming into effect next week.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said all civil servants must undergo biometric registration to weed out ghost workers.
Presenting the National budget last month, Prof Ncube said Government has come up with measures aimed at reducing public spending on employment costs.
The measures will come into effect when the New Year starts on Tuesday.
“Mr Speaker Sir, it is critical that we reduce public spending on employment costs. As a first step, Government has decided that effective 1 January 2019, a five percent cut on basic salary, be effected for all senior positions from principal directors, permanent secretaries and their equivalents up to deputy ministers, ministers and the Presidium,” said Prof Ncube.
He said this would also extended to basic salaries of those in designated posts in State-owned enterprises (chief executive officers, executive directors and equivalent grades) including constitutional commissions and grant-aided institutions.
“A standardisation or alignment exercise in remuneration including benefits for constitutional commissions, will also be undertaken to remove inequity and disparities,” said Prof Ncube.
Turning to the biometric register for civil servants in 2019, Prof Ncube said the previous civil service audits undertaken by Government pointed to the possible existence of ghost workers in the service, contributing to the burgeoning public service wage bill which accounts for over 90 percent of total revenues.
“Clearly, this goes against the thrust of re-orienting budget expenditures towards growth enhancing and poverty reducing developmental programmes and projects through rationalisation of the public service wage bill. Mr Speaker Sir, to weed out these ghost workers, I propose to introduce a biometric registration of all civil servants, with effect from 1 January 2019,” said Prof Ncube.
The Finance Minister said the registration process will be rigorous and will involve capturing data on letter of appointment, academic and professional qualifications, national identification documents, employment code numbers, and biometric data.
He said the biometric data will involve capturing of one’s unique physical attributes such as fingerprints, DNA, iris and retina pattern, using ICT.
“The above system will ensure that every person being paid by Government for services rendered is properly accounted for,” said Prof Ncube.
Government has already initiated the process of retiring 3 384 youth officers from the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation as part of the first phase of implementing civil service reforms.
The Public Service Commission said the retirement of the youth officers was part of a number of measures that Government is implementing and these include rightsizing, reassignment and restructuring of the civil service.