PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has ruled out a wage freeze for civil servants and insisted the government was still looking at ways of improving salaries for state employees.
State workers have been fighting for a wage increases for much of the year and reacted with fury to reports Finance Minister Tendai Biti would impose a wage and recruitment freeze in his economic review statement next week.
Biti reportedly hinted at the wage freeze during a special cabinet meeting which discussed the country’s economy as it emerged the 2012 national budget was way off track with revenues falling far below projections.
But Tsvangirai told legislators Wednesday that there was government policy for a wage freeze adding the cabinet was still exploring ways of meeting the demands of state employees.
“I do not know whether the Government has adopted the policy of wage (freeze). There is no such policy,” The MDC-T leader said.
“But let me say that Government is committed to upgrade salaries of civil servants and other Government departments.”
Tsvangirai said while the economy had failed to perform to expectations the Finance Ministry could not take unilateral decisions regarding the salaries of civil servants.
“The issue is if we continue to have an economy which is not performing, we face a fiscal squeeze because the Minister of Finance will always say there is no money,” he said.
“It is malicious to try and blame the Finance Minister alone for those actions. An individual minister cannot make a decision to increase or do otherwise on salaries. It is a collective Cabinet position.
“It is not Tendai Biti’s money, it is Government money and that money is distributed according to budget and Government decisions. In this case, there is no policy position regarding salaries or any increase or otherwise pertaining to civil servants.”