Ncube defends decision to spare top government officials’ allowances from wage cuts

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By Alois Vinga

FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube has defended his decision to slash top government officials salaries only while ignoring their hefty allowances which also draw from the national purse.

In his 2019 budget, Ncube announced a 5 percent cut on wages for the President, his deputies, Ministers, ministry executives as well as top managers within the country’s loss making parastatals.

Recently, government advisor, Professor Ashok Chakravati revealed that top government officials’ allowances were gobbling 40 percent of the civil service wage bill.

Ncube defended his failure to also target allowances which he said were little.

“The allowances are not as large as salaries in the first place. They are actually lower than the salaries,” he said.

“We are also working on a retirement policy which will see people above 65 years of age retiring. So most of those senior people whom you are talking about will fall by the way side.

“We are doing the right thing, making the right steps in terms wage containment in the civil service.”

Zimbabwe has a bloated bureaucracy that has seen government emerge with a lot of ministries whose corridors are filled with permanent secretaries and department directors who all enjoy handsome benefits, among them, expensive vehicles running on government fuel.

Most have their children also sent to school by government.

The government officials quite often travel in and outside the country with millions drawn in travel and subsistence expenses.

Ncube was silent on the need to plug the hemorrhage that occurs through these and some supplementary pay systems.