Government has established the Zimbabwe Public Service Investment Trust that will see civil servants collectively participating in the indeginisation and economic empowerment drive championed by Zanu-PF. The trust, set after extensive consultations between Government officials, the Apex Council and other civil service groups, is expected to uplift the standard of living for civil servants by mobilising resources to fund acquisition of shares across the country’s entire economic spectrum.
President Mugabe is expected to officially launch the trust soon.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu yesterday said the trust was welcome as it would result in Government workers participating in the national economy.
The Trust has since been registered under a notarial deed of donation and trust and there is a set code of conduct for committee members, who are all civil servants representatives.
“This is an empowerment project and a strategy for alleviating poverty in the civil service which should see our living standards being uplifted through economic enhancement outside the salary,” Mr Ndlovu said.
“Our duty is to mobilise every civil servant to participate in the national economy. We are not getting what we deserve even after employment and it is against this background and the Government’s positive measure towards indigenisation of the economy that we would like to participate in the empowerment project through share ownership schemes and direct involvement in mining, manufacturing and service industries.”
Mr Ndlovu said civil servants had not been offered an opportunity to own shares in the economy despite being a “major factor of the human and intellectual capital that Zimbabwe is proud of today.”
“It is the trust’s strongest conviction that the share ownership schemes being spearheaded by Government in the private sector and communities be extended to civil servants who have not yet been offered the opportunity to buy shares in shaded companies like their counterparts in the private sector,” he said.
“We are looking mainly at mining shares but we will accept any other area Government may wish to allocate us.”
He said the various civil servants unions in the country would raise the US$2 million needed for setting up the trust operations.
“Our strategy of getting to this is to identify asset managers in the form of banks and financial institutions. These will also assist in the management of the resources,” Mr Ndlovu said.
“We want to do this with the technical support of partners from outside the country, including joint ventures. For this to be successful, it needs the determination of members to pay and believe that we can one day own our companies.”
The Trust would be run strictly on business lines.
“We held several meetings with them as we looked at a model of financing the scheme.
“The trust will enable civil servants to invest in any commercial or industrial undertaking within or beyond the borders of Zimbabwe where the economic benefits to members justify such a decision.”
Civil servants have grappled with economic challenges over the past five years with salaries that are below the poverty datum line. The lowest paid Government employee gets US$297 while the PDL is over US$600.
President Mugabe has since assured them that the new Zanu-PF Government was committed to their welfare and would improve their salaries and award them non-monetary benefits.