By Alois Vinga
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa continues to pay ghost workers unearthed by a civil service audit a few years ago, former Finance Minister Tendai Biti has claimed.
Biti told newzimbabwe.com in an interview on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Workers Day commemoration in Harare that government’s wage bill has doubled by recruitments by the country’s security services since he left at the end of the Government of National Unity in 2013.
“Information I have gathered reveals that, while I used to pay 236 000 workers during my tenure, currently Mnangagwa is paying 600 000 workers.
“Most of these are employees in an inflated army, police, and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and Zanu PF ward officers in the villages,” Biti said.
Government in the run-up to the 2013 elections employed thousands of graduates from the national youth service programme largely made up of Zanu PF activists.
Under a raft of austerity measures President Mnangagwa’s government has targeted the removal of ghost workers from the government’s payroll.
In October last year, Civil Service Commission chairperson Vincent Hungwe said government will introduce a bio-metric system to flush out ghost workers admitting government procedures may have been circumvented in the employment of some people.
Opposition MDC deputy national chairperson, Biti highlighted the need to cut wage expenditure from 95 to around 30 percent of revenues which he said will further translate to a decline from around 25 percent to seven percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
However, Biti argued that there is little political will to go through with the plan adding “this administration cannot reform itself out of power.”
“The country also needs to deal with the monetary mess by removing this creature called the bond notes, restore dollarisation and multiple currencies as well as abandon export surrender requirements.
“There is also need to ring-fence pensions and savings in order to eventually join the Rand Monetary Union,” he said.
Early this year, Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube announced that government is retiring 3 000 youth officers in an attempt to cut down on expenditure.
While presenting the 2019 annual budget statement last year, Ncube revealed that all civil servants must undergo biometric registration to weed out ghost workers among other measures aimed at cutting unnecessary public spending.
The bio-metric registration system is scheduled to come into effect this year.