By Thandiwe Garusa
FORMER Finance Minister Tendai Biti has told the government to stop promising houses and cars to teachers and pay them decent United States dollar-based salaries.
Teachers have been on a strike citing incapacitation since the reopening of schools for the first term on Monday, demanding at a monthly salary of at least US$540.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Thursday, Biti said the ruling party cannot fool anyone and it must stop making fake promises.
Government announced a salary increase of 20% backdated to January 2022 and a US$100 Covid-19 allowance effective March.
“Effectively it is US$20,” Biti said in the exclusive interview beamed live on NewZim TV Thursday afternoon, sponsored by the Diaspora Insurance Company.
“This is smokescreen economics, and they are hoping that we have a good agricultural season where they can monetise this and they are hoping that they can pull through because they need a year to the next election,” he said.
“They cannot fool anyone, every civil servant knows this is not a salary increase, the effective increase is 5 000 bond which is US$20, so they are not fooling anyone, not even their own wives,” Biti said.
He added: “They need to be given a minimum of US$500 per months, it is that simple, do not promise them houses, do not promise them cars, give them the basic wage, give them a strong functional economy, give them tools to work with, if they are teachers give them classrooms, chalks and proper blackboards.
“If they are doctors give them their frontline workers tools to work with, give them a decent salary, it is a crime that you go to a public hospital like Parirenyatwa and the government is now delegating to patients and their relatives to look after people that are inside.”