In an interview on Capitalk FM, in which the Finance and Economic Development minister, Patrick Chinamasa was grilled by Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa and several tidbits came out. We have covered some of what was said here on Techzim, where the minister called for trust and confidence for the economy to work.
After discussing some carefully prepared topics, Ruvheneko turned to Twitter to get questions to ask the Minister. One of the questions was on ghost workers. The
One of the questions was on ghost workers.
The Twitter user wanted the Minister to explain how he is managing the issue of ghost workers, especially as election season approaches, to get clarification on whether that issue was under control.
It has been reported in the past that the government has thousands of workers on its payroll who are not really working for the government but for Zanu PF.
This is something that the government has denied.
This year though, the discrepancies in the Ministry of Youth’s wage payments was telling. The ministry’s ledger had about $27m and yet wage payments of about $36m were processed in 2016.
The Minister of Youth gave his explanation as to why there was that discrepancy. Genuine or not, there seems to be an issue of ghost workers and millions of dollars are being drained by these workers every single year.
Now when the Finance minister was asked about this issue he used his go-to response, ‘I’m not aware of it.’ The same response he used when he was asked about the cash sales rampant in the country. He then clarified what he meant by ‘I’m not aware of ghost workers.’
He said ‘ghost workers’ implies that the workers are not existent. He said the people exist but in order to improve efficiency they should not exist. The problem, according to him is over-staffing and not ghost workers. This over-staffing is the reason why well over 92c per dollar of government revenue is going towards wages.
Chinamasa once came up with the bold idea to scrap bonuses for civil servants to deal with the high wage costs but that idea was shot down by his colleagues in cabinet. When asked why he backed down, he said he was not a lone ranger and needed the support of his colleagues in cabinet, the support he says he did not get.
To deal with the high wage bill the minister said the government is using a two-pronged approach. The first is rationalisation or redeployment and ‘growing the cake.’ Rationalisation regards cutting that wage bill and growing the cake means improving production in this country, which the minister said is happening especially thanks to command agriculture.
The interview is available in three parts on Facebook and also as a podcast.