Govt starts retrenching ‘Green Bombers’; 3000 to go

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By Alois Vinga

THE government has started the process of removing youth officers from the civil service in line with finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s 2019 fiscal plans.

The youth officers were largely drawn from the National Youth Service programme which has been criticized for producing shock-troopers for the ruling Zanu PF party.

However, in his 2019 budget proposals, minister Ncube announced civil service reforms that will see the youth officers’ posts being abolished as part of plans to reduce governments wage bill.

Public Service Commission Secretary, John Wutawunashe, confirmed the retirement process has now started in a statement at the weekend.

“In the first phase of implementing civil service reforms, Government has since initiated the process of retiring 3,384 youth officers in the Youth Ministry and redirect their energies to activities that have the potential to greatly improve their livelihoods.

“The main criterion to be used to retire the youth officers is based on whether the members possess the requisite qualifications to be engaged as public officers,” said Wutawunashe.

He added; “Those affected by the exercise will receive their full retirement benefits in line with public service statutes and these will be communicated.

“Information on empowerment opportunities will be made available to interested parties.

“Some of the available options include provision of skills at vocational training centres, access to finance business mentorship and incubation services.”

The development however, comes at a time Zanu PF is planning to revive the youth service programme which was abandoned in 2003 due to budgetary constraints and amid allegations of rights abuses.

The ruling party confirmed the plans at its national conference which ended at the weekend.