By Audience Mutema
THE fight against corruption in the public service will not be won as long as government continues to pay low salaries to civil servants, parliamentarians have warned.
Contributing to debate on the Supplementary Budget presented to the National Assembly by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube last week, legislators from across the political divide agreed there was need for a serious review of the salaries due to civil servants.
Buhera South legislator Joseph Chinotimba led the calls arguing Ncube needed to increase the Public Service Ministry’s budget.
“Mr Speaker Sir, I am saying the money that was put towards the Ministry of Public Service should be increased because that is where the civil servants are and that is where everyone is represented.
“For the government to get money, the civil servants look for the money. The moment we do not pay them adequate salaries, it means there is going to be an increase in corruption, what are they going to do at the end of the day in order to fend for themselves?” Chinotimba said.
“We are saying, in the Supplementary Budget, the Minister should have cushioned the civil servants and increased their salaries.”
Chinotimba received support from MDC legislator for Dangamvura-Chakanga, Prosper Mutseyami and independent Norton MP Temba Mliswa.
Mutseyami urged Parliament to also consider its own workers.
“Parliament workers and civil servants remuneration should be attended to. So we cannot just pass the budget, we need first to amend the Supplementary Budget and ensure that our employees get salaries that restore their dignity,” said Mutseyami.
Mliswa on the other hand, urged government to consider pegging civil servants salaries at the prevailing interbank rate to hedge against inflation.
“I talk about every Zimbabwean civil servant that their money must be pegged at the prevailing interbank rate.
“Government talks about a cushioning allowance but what value will that be in seven months time. It will be almost nothing. So to protect them against inflation, we should use the interbank rate that is prevailing,” said Mliswa.
Ncube has urged private sector players to increase the salaries of their workers to cushion them against inflation.